“What?! What did you say?! I can’t hear you!” Is this a typical occurrence in your oil or gas operations? Industrial noise in an oil or gas operation is a concern for all employers, with noise levels reaching up to 110 dB(A) or beyond. Studies have shown that the prevalence of hearing loss among Oil and Gas workers can be as high as 27% depending on their work environment. Beyond the on-the-job safety concerns of noise and the impact it has on hearing loss, there are long-term health effects that go well beyond hearing impairment. The CDC reports that hearing loss is the third most chronic physical condition in the US, outpacing diabetes and cancer. Studies have also shown a substantial increase in an individual’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer's or dementia as the severity of hearing damage increases.

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Oil and gas companies are always under scrutiny for causing environmental concerns such as oil spills or fires. The reality is that these companies take employee safety very seriously, as it is a very dangerous profession and can be perilous. Although oil and gas companies do not want oil spills and other disasters to occur, the safety of their employees is an equal priority for them. This requires a need for certain resources to assure safety and efficiency.

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In the previous blog, we discussed how to know whether your industrial headsets are intrinsically safe, and we briefly introduced what it means to be intrinsically safe. As we learned, intrinsically safe products, or headsets, in this case, are meant to keep the user safe when in explosive or hazardous environments. In this blog, we will dive deeper into what these hazardous environments look like and how they are systematically classified into different classes, divisions, zones, etc.

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Digitizing the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry is turning towards digital communication technologies to develop more efficient ways for communication, remote monitoring, and real-time asset management on oil rigs and oil fields. For oil and gas industry operators, a move to the digital era will offer the potential to accelerate productivity, improve operational efficiency, and provide superior protection to workers. To seize these opportunities, operators look for communication solutions that can help improve operations, safety, reduce operational costs, and manage risk more effectively.

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People in every business field understand that there is underlying importance for communication; however, some industries and business fields neglect to place the correct degree of emphasis on the issue of effective communication. Some may fail to see that effective communication within their industries is not only important but also essential to success and productivity. Nowhere is this piece of information more relevant than within the ring of offshore industries working primarily in areas of oil and gas production and processing - effective communication is a critical component therein and is often overlooked by industry leaders. Those who own or manage offshore industry businesses may want to consider the information below concerning the importance of effective communication and how said communication can be achieved.

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frack·ing  noun \ˈfra-kiŋ\: the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas)

Improved technology has increased the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, over the past decade. The American Petroleum Institute has called the extraction of natural gas from shale "the most important domestic energy development in the last fifty years,” and fracking is one of over 150 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary in 2014.

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The Oil and Gas industry seems to be consistently under attack, whether for environmental concerns or safety issues. However, oil and gas companies take employee safety very seriously, for good reason. What your workers do – to provide much-needed resources – is important, albeit quite dangerous work.

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Although the first experiments in Hydraulic Fracturing began in the late 1940s, the Hydraulic Fracturing (also known as “fracking”) industry has seen a boom in recent years. As of 2012, (according to the Society of Petroleum Engineers) an estimated 2.5 million hydraulic fracturing jobs have been performed on oil and gas wells worldwide. This may be due to the ability to locate unconventional natural gas and oil sources through fracking.

The boom in Hydraulic Fracturing has also raised concerns about the safety and protection of the workers. The high-pressure equipment and drills create a high noise environment. Maintaining hearing protection and clear communication can be a challenge. OSHA’s proposed Silica Rule adds to that challenge by potentially requiring the use of respiratory equipment.

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In the previous blog, we explained what an explosive atmosphere was, and why an Intrinsic Safety Certification is required for your communications headset.

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As we spend time with our growing portfolio of global Oil and Gas customers, it always amazes me how much confusion exists within the working population around the requirements for Intrinsically Safe Certification. Some customers believe that a Two-Way Radio is Intrinsically Safe because it has an IS battery.

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