CPR Hazards in the Oilfield
Don’t Become Another Victim
When a worker goes down in the oilfield and loses respiration then they need proper first aid and CPR right away. What is not going to be helpful, and will actually complicate the situation, is if you become a victim while rendering first aid. This will delay aid to the victim and complicate the emergency response. There are many hazards within the oilfield and a CPR provider can fall prey to the original hazard encountered by the victim or some other hazard.
Ensure Help is on the Way
A common property of most oilfield operations is that they are typically located great distances from populated areas. This adds a built in delay that should be anticipated and prepared for before an emergency arises. When a victim has been identified, help must be called in right away. Certain San Antonio oil and gas operations, notably perforating, prohibit the use of cell phones so this should be noted and planned for.
Oilfields can also have barriers making it difficult to access the location to outsiders. Rough and muddy terrain may become completely impassible during inclement weather. Some fields also are located behind locked gates, make sure that the first responders are not trapped behind these gates while you are busy performing CPR.
H2S and Other Gasses
H2S gas can be present in some oilfield operation and causes incapacitation or death when inhaled in sufficient quantities. If the reason that the original victim became incapacitated was due to H2S gas inhalation then there is a chance that H2S could still be present. CPR cannot be performed in the presence of H2S gas because the responder will become overcome and the victim will need to be removed to fresh air before ever improving. Always check for H2S gas using proper monitoring equipment and never rely on your sense of smell as H2S can deaden your ability to smell.
Other gasses, such as natural gasses and benzene, can also cause respiration to cease when inhaled in sufficient quantities. These gasses are also explosive and can become a secondary fire hazard. Pay attention to your surroundings especially if there may be any leaks or other releases of fluids nearby so that appropriate action can be taken before performing CPR.
Depending on the size, density, and activity level of the oilfield there may be many other operations happening at the same time as the emergency. If operations are well planned and communicated then these other operations may be of help during an emergency. If planning and communications are poor then they may increase the amount of chaos and distraction while emergency responders are attempting to find the location. Simultaneous operations, or SIMOPS, should be able to shut down and group up in a muster area in case of an emergency in order to pool resources and provide a clear pathway unimpeded to emergency response.
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