Fire Protection in the Oil & Gas Industry: What to Know

Posted by Jared Townsend


Working in the oil and gas industry carries with it a lot of responsibility, particularly as it relates to maintaining proper safety standards and protocols. Among the chief concerns is guarding against fire-related hazards. Fires resulting from explosions and other incididents can be particularly catastrophic, not only in terms of financials but more concerning, injuries and fatalities. In 1988, for example, a fire at a petroleum refinery in Norco, Louisiana, led to losses totaling a staggering $513 million. In another incident in 1984, an oil pipeline explosion in Cubatão, Brazil led to 508 fatalities. Fire detection and suppression systems, in addition to extinguishers, can play an integral role in ensuring safety at the worksite and protect against such disasters. For your oil and/or gas business, consider the following:

Pay Attention to OSHA Guidelines

Abiding by fire and safety hazard guidelines isn't just a good idea, it's required by federal laws under OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). According to OSHA, fire hazards including explosions, are often times attributable to the ignition of flammable gases and vapors. Visit the fire safety section of to ensure you're following best industry practices ( 

Develop a Fire Prevention Plan

Otherwise known as an FPP, a fire prevention plan can be critical in stopping fire hazards before they start. Critical parts of fire prevention standards, as outlined by OSHA, cover areas such as: Maintaining a list of all potential fire hazards (i.e. the handling of hazardous materials), procedures related to waste materials that are flammable and combustible, procedures for maintenance, and tracking employee responsibilities for maintenance and addressing hazards.

Emphasize Fire-sensitive Areas

Pay close attention to areas on the jobsite that need the most protection. For example, liquid storage areas can be safeguarded by installing foam fire suppression systems. Such areas can include storage sites for bulk fuel, natural gas, and more. 

For more information regarding fire safety when it comes to oil and gas, follow safety procedures and standards as outlined by OSHA.

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