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Four Major Safety Incidents in the Hydrocarbon Industries

The risk of a severe offshore accident in marine waters is very high. A rigorous safety training can genuinely minimize the risk of disasters occurring to the environment and coastal regions' economies. Damage to the coastal areas can be significantly limited through the preventive implementation of an effective emergency response plan. For this reason, various companies are proposing and developing new safety training policies and guidelines. They are aimed at ensuring that hydrocarbons' production takes place in compliance with strict measures that conform to the world standards for safety, health, and the environment.

Today, most hydrocarbon production takes place offshore, often in harsh geographic and geological conditions. With the ever-growing energy demand, companies will have to resort to all the oil and gas reserves that lie in our seabed. To avoid the repetition of disasters, it is vital to ensure that the industry operates according to best practices. Safety training represents a decisive step towards ensuring safer offshore operations, for the benefit of the people and the environment.

There is a need for periodical safety training evaluations to improve the level of training. This will enable the taking into account the changing technologies and knowledge as well as the development of new risks. To facilitate the quick transfer of crucial changes in the safety training courses, it is key to train the trainers involved in the dissemination of these safety courses.

The oil industry, by nature and geographic locations, is always exposed to security issues. A vast majority of the world's oil production facilities are in areas with high safety constraints linked to the political or economic context. With these threats there are four main safety incidents that may arise;

Explosions: The hydrocarbons nature is that they are potentially dangerous products to the environment and people. Their production methods are also hazardous and hence a safety concern. Pressurized hydrocarbons are a significant threat to explosions and fires, and with these disasters happening, there are also long-term impacts on the environment. As a safety precaution, it is critical to integrate the various measures geared toward eradication or, to a high degree, the prevention of explosions. Hence any safety training must train the trainers on the incorporation of emerging technologies in control and prevention of explosion and fires. Offshore installations require vital attention since any attack on it is very catastrophic. Any unforeseen disaster such as an oil or gas leak is uncontrollable, and any interventions are very complicated.

Cyber-attacks: These are happening more frequently with the emergence of advanced digital technologies and their dependence. The hydrocarbon factories are a key target due to their reliance on automation processes in their operations. This can lead to equipment malfunctions, which can be a safety concern. It is vital to train trainers on how to teach on the cyber-attack response mechanism.

Personnel threat: These involve unwanted personnel who have ill-motives poses a safety threat to other staff. They can tamper, damage, or expose equipment or sensitive products to specific unsafe actions that compromise the safety of entire company assets. It is necessary to put in place adequate security measures against such threats.

Environment: With climate change, there is an increased occurrence of climatic disasters that affect millions of people globally. Both offshore and onshore facilities are always at risk of extreme environmental changes. Hence the design and construction of these facilities should take into account these factors. There is a need for safety training in cases of drastic environmental changes on mitigation measures that can be made in tsunamis and earthquakes cases.

Companies must note the importance of regular safety training to their personnel to safeguard against these accidents.  

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