Some industries focusing on oil exploration and mining require working in remote locations. In these areas, employees may be exposed to harsh weather conditions that put their safety at risk. Aside from the environmental hazards, the job alone could harm one’s health.
Employers must go beyond the ideal workplace health and safety standards. This applies across different industries, especially those working in remote locations. Since the site is often far from other establishments for emergencies, they should provide security for each employee.
Here are eight health and safety practices for employees working in remote areas.
Set Up A Safe Camp
Working in remote areas means employees need safe and accessible accommodation, which includes sleeping quarters, shower rooms, cafeteria, and leisure areas for entertainment during rest days. It should be near the working site but far enough from hazards.
During man camp construction, safety and comfort must be prioritized. Fabric structures or modular buildings with proper insulation and an HVAC system are a must to control airflow and temperature. If the site is in the midst of the desert, a different air filtration system is required.
You must keep in mind that setting up a worksite in a remote area requires careful planning and execution. Aside from creating a safe and conducive space for your employees, another critical aspect of ensuring their safety is placing your equipment and raw materials in a suitable location. Since most tools and equipment used in remote areas are beyond conventional dimensions, heavy haul services are beneficial in transporting your equipment safely.
That said, you should never compromise your equipment by transporting it yourself or engaging with substandard services because it might only risk its condition while en route. Remember that even if you provide a secure work environment for your employees, they could be seriously harmed by broken or mishandled machinery that makes it inside the workplace.
Maintain Proper Lighting
Keeping every corner lit is crucial to safety, especially within the work site. Working in remote areas dealing with unexpected elements, animals, and insects that may cause harm is expected. No matter how minute these things are, they may cause accidents and injuries when unseen.
Proper lighting in camps is also essential for emergencies. It’s easier to spot the trouble and send a quick response when necessary. Additional light sources should always be prepared and set up if your site is located where the sunlight is dim.
Worksite lighting guidelines are implemented and regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These standard guidelines consist of minimum lighting requirements calculated in foot-candles, which is the standard amount of light produced from one candle on a one square foot area within a distance of one foot. Basically, one foot-candle is equivalent to one lumen for every square foot.
Some of the requirements for each number of foot-candles are as follows:
Three-foot candles: Loading platforms, access ways, concrete placement, field maintenance, excavation areas, and refueling locations
Five-foot candles: Indoor hallways, warehouse spaces, and exit ways; general construction area lighting; underground work areas
Ten foot-candles: Construction plants, mechanical and electrical equipment rooms, mess halls, rigging lofts, indoor workrooms and toilets, active storerooms
Thirty-foot candles: Offices, infirmaries, and first-aid stations
Put Up Hazard Signs
Working in oil and mining industries requires digging holes, particularly during exploration.
No matter how shallow, falling into a pit can cause a sprain or fracture. In this case, hazard signs and barricades are necessary to prevent these injuries.
The hazard signs should be lit or glow in the dark, especially when working at night. Barricades at least 1 to 1.2 meters high should also be placed around massive pits. These simple safety measures can save lives.
Put Up A First Aid Clinic On Site
Since the site is far from other establishments like hospitals, it’s imperative to have a first aid clinic. A doctor should always be present to attend to employees’ health needs and emergencies. An ambulance must be on standby in case there’s a need to transfer someone to the nearest hospital.
Putting up a first aid clinic on-site can save lives. It’s the employer’s responsibility to keep the workers safe and healthy, especially when working in a hostile environment. Preparing for the worst-case scenario helps prevent casualties.
Implement Zero-Tolerance Policy
Working in harsh environments needs extra safety precautions. One of these is strict rule implementation. Firearms, alcohol, drugs, and any form of violence or harassment should never be tolerated.
A thorough background check is required before hiring an employee to prevent harmful activities within the work site. Frequent drug and alcohol testing is also necessary for everyone’s safety. Physical or verbal harassment should also be condemned since it affects the employees’ overall health and morale.
Keep The Site Clean
Sanitation is required to ensure health and safety. Since the employees stay in an almost unhabitable environment, diseases from unknown viruses or bacteria are always risky. Keeping the site clean is one way to lessen it.
Regular sanitation is also necessary when working with harmful chemicals. Ensuring each camp is free from contamination is a must. Frequent water testing is also helpful for detecting disease-causing bacteria that may harbor in your water source.
Always Require PPE
Wearing personal protective equipment on work sites should always be required, no matter how harmless the job may seem. It’s one of the most efficient safety measures against injuries caused by accidents like falling debris and sharp objects.
The suitable PPE depends on the elements they’re exposed to. For instance, workers dealing with harmful chemicals should always wear overalls, aprons, gloves, chemical-resistant glasses, face shields, respirators, and non-slip footwear. At the same time, those dealing with heavy equipment should include a hard hat and cut-resistant gloves.
Carry Out Safety Drills
Most remote locations are at risk of different natural disasters like snowstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and sandstorms. The severity of these conditions depends on your site. For instance, you may expect snowstorms and freezing temperatures when working within the northern hemisphere.
Aside from natural disasters, carrying out fire drills is also a must, regardless of the location. Fire may start from accidents or unknown causes, so it’s best to be prepared. Doing these safety exercises prevents casualties.
On top of the emergency drills, an evacuation must also be systematically planned. Conducting a program for emergency response increases employees’ safety. Providing a booklet with accurate illustrations and diagrams for an evacuation plan would be a great lifesaver.
Regardless of location, health and safety are every workplace’s priority. Taking these extra steps is a must to guarantee each employee’s wellbeing. Providing security for everyone also increases workplace morale and boosts productivity.