While many of the risks and challenges in oilfield safety training focus on pipeline incidents and accident prevention, worker health also plays a role. Healthy, injury-free employees are less likely to have lapses in judgment or made mistakes, resulting in a major incident down the road. For many oilfield workers, the top non-critical injuries they face on a regular basis are hand and wrist ones.
According to OA Online, Dr. Gerald Farber recently opened shop in Odessa, Texas, as a specialist in upper extremity orthopedic conditions – such as carpal tunnel release, trigger finger release, wrist arthroscopic procedures, wrist and elbow joint replacements, fracture fixation and bone grafting, stiffness, contractures and deformities, athletic injuries and arthritic conditions. Farber noted that the majority of his patients are coming from the oilfields nearby. Ralph Lewis, an HSE specialist, noted that these injuries are caused by a lack of familiarity with risks and safety training.
"A lot of it comes from people who are not paying attention to what they are doing," Lewis told the news source. "A lot of the mistakes in the field are new people coming into the oil field and haven't been around this stuff and haven't had the correct training."
Factors, such as the type of gloves a worker wears, how much sleep the worker gets and general attention to detail can all affect the rate of hand and wrist injuries in the field.
In order to improve overall health and safety training and reduce the risk of accidents happening, oilfields and pipelines need to invest in the proper consulting to boost their accident prevention and training as a whole. This will result in happier, injury-free workers who may be more attentive to to their own health and the safety of those around them.