Lease Pumper's Handbook Published by the Commission on Marginally Producing Oil and Gas Wells of Oklahoma, First Edition 2003 Written by Leslie V. Langston Table of Contents Introductions A. Cover Sheet Book Title B. Publishing Information First Edition, 2003

The Lease Pumper's Handbook

Published by the Commission on Marginally Producing Oil and Gas Wells of Oklahoma, First Edition 2003 Written by Leslie V. Langston Table of Contents Introductions A. Cover Sheet Book Title B. Publishing Information First Edition, 2003


Written by Leslie V. Langston


Publishing Information. First Edition, 2003. C. Foreword. Rick Chapman, Executive Director (1996-2000) Commission on Marginally Producing Oil and Gas Wells, State of Oklahoma. D. Dedication. John A. Taylor, Chairman (1992-1998) Commission on Marginally Producing Oil And Gas Wells, State of Oklahoma. E. Author’s Introduction. Leslie V. Langston, Author, First Edition F. Commission Introduction. Liz Fajen, Executive Director, Commission on Marginally Producing Oil and Gas Wells, State of Oklahoma.


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3-i The Lease Pumper’s Handbook CHAPTER 3 SAFETY A. Personal Safety 1. Good Judgment and Common Sense. · Being prepared. 2. Taking Unnecessary Chances. 3. Making Safety a Part of the Job. 4. Industry Standard Notices, Warning Signs, and Markers. · DANGER. · WARNING. · CAUTION. · NOTICE. · SAFETY. · RADIATION. · The location of safety and fire safety equipment. · Barriers. · Typical lease signs. 5. Safety Equipment. · Breathing apparatus. · Goggles. · Hearing protection. · Eye wash stations. · Spark-proof tools. B. Hydrogen Sulfide and Natural Gas Safety. 1. Introduction to Hydrogen Sulfide Gas 2. What Is Hydrogen Sulfide? 3. Properties of Hydrogen Sulfide. 4. The Dangers of Breathing H2S. 5. Safe Working Procedures in Gaseous Areas. · Safety training programs for working around hydrogen sulfide. · Where will the lease pumper encounter hydrogen sulfide? 6. Breathing Apparatus. · Individual fresh air packs. · The five-minute air pack. · The thirty-minute backpack. · Compressing fresh air. · The industrial sized bottle and hose. · Trailer-mounted equipment. · Taking care of air breathing equipment. 3-ii 3A-1 The Lease Pumper’s Handbook Chapter 3 Safety Section A PERSONAL SAFETY Much of the work that the lease pumper does is done alone. While following proper safety practices is always important, safety is even more important when a person is performing potentially dangerous tasks and no one else is around to assist if an injury occurs or the person loses consciousness. For these reasons, it is especially important for the lease pumper to be careful and not to take any unnecessary chances. To assist the lease pumper, companies put into place safety procedures, provide safety equipment, and post signs that warn of dangers on the job site. This section discusses these important elements of job safety. A-1. Good Judgment and Common Sense. Working alone is not the same as working with a group. The lease pumper working alone needs to remember at all times that any problems that occur must be small enough that lease pumper can work out of them alone. The lease pumper never takes dangerous chances unless the event is already in motion, and this action is a last resort to avoid death or to prevent exceptional injury. As an illustration, a good lease pumper would never walk under a load on a winch line rather than walk around it. If the engine should stall or the line break, the lease pumper is risking injury and possibly death to save a few minutes. The savings in time is not worth a fraction of the risk. Being prepared. In being prepared to work alone, the lease pumper must be ready for many contingencies. This means planning ahead for problems that may occur and taking steps to prevent those problems or to lessen their impact if they do occur. For example, a problem with the vehicle can leave the lease pumper stranded, and usually on the most remote part of the lease. What does the lease pumper do if the vehicle has a flat tire and the spare is also flat? What if this occurs on a warm summer night in an area full of rattlesnakes? Is there a flashlight available? Have the flashlight batteries been checked lately? Should the spare tire have been checked for air occasionally? This is the kind of planning that is required to avoid dangerous situations. The lease pumper should make it a habit to check the spare regularly. Just a thump will usually do. If lease engines must be started with jumper cables off the vehicle battery, the lease pumper should have two batteries mounted under the hood. It is easy to connect them so that both charge, and one can be used as the field battery. If the vehicle battery fails, the lease pumper can jump-start the pickup off the engine starter battery. For a few dollars, the lease pumper can buy a small compressor that will run off the vehicle battery or a device that uses vehicle engine compression to pump up a low tire or flat spare. An extra set of keys will be helpful if the lease pumper accidentally locks the keys in the vehicle. 3A-2 Communications are important when the lease pumper needs help from someone else because of an accident, a problem with the vehicle, an urgent problem with the lease equipment, or other emergency. A radio or portable telephone can be invaluable in such situations. Knowing the location of the nearest public telephone or house with a phone can also be important if the radio has been damaged or loses power because of a battery problem or if cell phones are out of range. Many companies, knowing the importance of communicating with their lease pumpers, provide phones or radios. The lease pumper must think about what to do in various types of emergencies because such problems occur regularly. A-2. Taking Unnecessary Chances. Many of the problems that people encounter while working alone develop because the worker took an unnecessary chance. For example, assume that a leak develops at a coupling and that a small amount of gas is escaping. The lease pumper can install a collar leak clamp in less than 15 minutes. Surely nothing will happen in so short a time so it is not necessary to shut in wells or isolate and bleed the pressure off the line before the installation. Invariably, a complication arises. The lease pumper has trouble finding a suitable clamp and the wrench to install it, so 15 minutes become 30. The wrench slips while installing the clamp and the coupling breaks. The lease pumper drops the wrench, causing a spark that ignites the gas. Many incidents are on record where oilfield workers have died repairing small leaks. In cost cases, the leaks looked too small to be risky, so chances were taken and the field worker was killed because of carelessness. No one was around to give first-aid. If the wind had been blowing or if the leak had not occurred in a low area, perhaps the gas would not have accumulated. Every accident is the sum of a series of unfortunate circumstances and poor decisions. This does not mean that the lease pumper must fear death constantly in order to do the work. But the lease pumper must evaluate every action in each specific situation and anticipate the potential outcomes. When it appears that the action is risky, the lease pumper should consider other actions or obtain the help necessary to reduce the risks involved to a safe level. A-3. Making Safety a Part of the Job. Many people feel that safety is like a coat. When the weather is cold they put it on, and when it is warm they take it off. When a situation comes up that may be dangerous, they become concerned about safety, and when the crisis is gone thoughts of safety disappear. A safety attitude has everything to do with work, but it also has everything to do with driving, fishing, or taking a walk. Safety is a way of life. How the lease pumper drives to work reflects an attitude toward safety. Speed limits are set as a safety reminder to motorists concerning a speed that can expected to be safe for an alert driver in a vehicle in good condition with fair weather, dry roads, and normal traffic. When these conditions are met, most drivers begin to feel that a few miles per hour over the speed limit would be just as safe. In truth, they are probably right, as long as conditions remain ideal. But when the lease pumper is cruising along at that speed, thinking about all of the tasks that are waiting at the lease, the situation has changed: there is no longer an alert driver. A light rain begins to fall, and now the pavement is no longer dry, but the 3A-3 driver is no longer thinking about driving conditions or about slowing down. Then, just as the lease pumper meets an oncoming car—without warning—an emergency occurs: a tire blows, something falls off a truck, or a hundred other possibilities. One of the vehicles invades the opposite lane by several feet. It occurs in the blink of an eye, and the lease pumper is driving too fast for proper defensive action. At this instant, it does not matter who caused the accident or why it happened. The wound is just as severe and the crash is just as fatal. People have been severely injured while driving across the lease and hitting the end of the cattle guard, because they were reading a newspaper while driving, or talking on a radio or telephone. In each case, something had become more important to that person than safety. It takes a lot of thought and effort to make safety a routine part of a person’s life, but it takes little thought or effort for a lack of safety to be part of a person’s death. A-4. Industry Standard Notices, Warning Signs, and Markers. In the same way that highway signs—such as stop signs, yield signs, and railroad crossing signs—have shapes and colors related to their meaning, signs used by industry to warn of danger and provide other information often use standard shapes and colors and even messages. The appearance and meaning of signs have been refined and standardized over the years until the size, shape, and colors indicate something from a distance, even before they are within reading distance. Generally these signs provide information about potential dangers or information about equipment and supplies, such as the location of fire extinguishers and first-aid kits. Many of these signs are used by the petroleum industry and can be found on oil and gas leases. Additionally, lease sites are generally marked with a sign that is unique to the industry. These signs describe well locations in such a way that they can be precisely located on the lease site. Both types of signs provide information that is useful to the lease pumper and others who may visit a lease site. This section presents information about the use of these signs and how to interpret them. Industry standard signs are made from a wide range of materials, including wood, aluminum, fiberglass, various plastics, and metal. They may be painted and lettered with enamel, acrylic, reflective compositions, or any of various other methods. Examples of some of these signs are shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. Some of the signs that may be seen on a lease site. (Courtesy Marathon Safety Department, Iraan, Texas.) There are some basic information signs that are generally black lettering on a white background, such as KEEP OUT. Other 3A-4 signs identify the location of general safety devices, such as first-aid kits, or the location of fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers. Many of the industry standard signs consist of two halves: an upper header that describes the type of information and the lower half which contains the information. The header and the information section generally have set color combinations for the lettering and the background to provide further clues about the purpose of the sign. The following paragraphs describe signs that may be found in the oil field or in other related industries. The signs are identified by their headers. · DANGER. White lettering on red background. The background may be oval with black corners. The information area has a white background with black lettering. Danger signs are used to indicate a condition that could lead to death or serious injury. Typical advisories that may be included are: High Voltage. Flammable Materials. Equipment Starts Automatically. No Smoking. Hard Hat Area. High Pressure Gas Line. · WARNING. Black lettering on an orange background for both the header and information areas. Warning signs indicate a condition that could lead to permanent injury but generally not to death. Typical examples include: Ear Protection Required in this Area. Hard Hat Area. Eye Protection Required. Do Not Use Two-Way Radios. · CAUTION. White lettering on yellow background on the header. The information area contains black lettering on a yellow background. Caution signs are installed where the danger is not likely to lead to death or serious injury or where the risk is not always present. Typical caution signs include: Step Down. Low Head Room. Use Hand Rails. Trucks Turning. · SAFETY. White lettering on a green background. Lettering in the information area is black on white. Safety signs are generally reminders of good safety practices, such as: Keep This Area Clean. Wash Your Hands. Safety Begins With You. · NOTICE. White letters on a blue background. The information area has a white background with black lettering. Notices generally provide advisory information, such as: Keep Doors Closed. Authorized Personnel Only. Tornado Shelter. · RADIATION. Purple lettering on yellow background. The heading may say radiation, danger, or warning, often based on the risk presented. Typical conditions described in the information area include: Radiation Hazard. X-Ray Equipment in Use. Radioactive Waste. 3A-5 While safety signs have been standardized to a large degree, the lease pumper is likely to see many variations from what has been described. For example, the use of colors for particular headers may vary. Depending on the risk presented by a condition, the header may be different for signs that have the same information. The location of safety and fire safety equipment. The general safety notices are generally green lettering on a white background or white lettering on a green background. These signs are generally posted near the location of first-aid kits, safety showers, eye washes, or other areas that may be sought in the event of an accident. Fire safety notices are red lettering on a white background. They are used to mark the locations of fire exits, fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire hoses, and other items that may be useful in escaping or fighting a fire. Barriers. Barriers are used to prevent entry into an area or route personnel and vehicles along desired paths of travel. The most common types of barriers used in the oilfield are: · Pylons or cones. There are generally red or orange. · Barrels. · A-Frames with 4-inch diagonal alternating white/red reflective stripes. · Barricade tape. Typical lease signs. Some of the most common industry standard signs that may be found at the well site or tank battery include: · Hard Hat Required. · Authorized Personnel Only. · Do Not Enter. · Equipment Starts Automatically. · High Voltage. · No Smoking. · H2S Poisonous Gas. · Air Pack Required. Most of these signs are intended to reduce safety risks to personnel who are authorized to be on the lease site. Additional signs may also be provided to warn workers of dangers they may encounter when approaching the lease. Other signs that may be found on the lease are intended for persons who do not have a valid reason for entering the site. Some examples of these signs include: · Private Road. · Private Property. · No Trespassing. · Travel at Your Own Risk. · Speed Limit. · Keep Gate Closed. · Livestock on Road. · No Hunting or Fishing. A-5. Safety Equipment. Because there are dangers on the lease, companies generally provide safety equipment for their employees and visitors to the lease. Sometimes safety equipment is required by state or federal regulations. The following paragraphs discuss some of the more important pieces of safety equipment likely to be found on a lease. Breathing apparatus. There are several styles of fresh air packs commonly available for field use, and these are reviewed in Section B. The lease pumper always carries a personal air mask on the job. Some leases store air packs on the lease for other personnel in a protective cabinet. 3A-6 Goggles. Wearing goggles (Figure 2) is recommended when gauging atmospheric vessels that produce hydrogen sulfide or when using a vapor recovery unit where the tank has several ounces of pressure inside. Wearing goggles is mandatory in any situation where there may be flying objects. Hearing protection. Earmuffs (Figure 2) must be worn in situations where a loud noise may be experienced. Such noises may damage hearing or interfere with the sense of balance. Figure 2. Examples of ear and eye protection. (Courtesy MSA) Eye wash stations. Eye wash stations (Figure 3) are available for installation where there is a high risk of eye injuries from particles or chemicals. When gauging a tank, the lease pumper’s eyes are exposed to hot gases rushing up out of the tank, and severe eye injuries can occur in seconds with the worker hardly being aware of it. The hot, poisonous gas open the pores in the surface of the eyes and penetrate them. As soon as the person looks away, the cooler ambient air will close these pores, trapping the gas in the eyes and causing a reaction that is similar to burning the eyes from exposure to the light of an arc welder. This extremely painful experience will last for at least 24 hours until the gas escapes or diffuses into the body. Eye wash solution and lubricant are available at any drug store and should be carried in the lease pumper’s first-aid kit. Figure 3. An eye-wash station. Spark-proof tools. Spark-proof tools (Figure 4) are used to reduce the chances of creating a spark that might create a fire or ignite an explosive atmosphere. Figure 4. Examples of spark-proof tools. (Courtesy Marathon Safety Department) 3A-7 Spark-proof tools are usually made of brass and are expensive. Most lease pumpers do not carry many spark-proof tools. A hammer and one small adjustable wrench are usually the limit of the ones that may be needed. Emergency rescue vehicles often carry a few to use in extricating people from wrecked vehicles and other possible explosive situations. Many other types of safety equipment are available, and lease pumpers should determine what types of equipment will help make the job safer for their specific situation. For example, some lease pumpers choose to wear back protection belts if they are expected to do a great deal of lifting. Lease pumpers should occasionally examine the safety equipment that is available and assess which items would benefit their work situations. Often the company will be willing to provide those safety items that the lease pumper believes to be necessary. 3A-8