Common Causes of Injury in the Oil and Gas Industry – Electrocution

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Electrocutions occur most frequently due to lack of awareness of the electrical hazards present, improper training, and the use of inappropriate equipment, including inappropriate PPE.

Precautions for avoiding electrical shocks include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Identify electrical hazards and ensure that they are adequately addressed before any work begins.
  • Implement and follow a lockout/tag-out program specifically designed for your equipment/machinery/site. Confirm that there is no electrical energy present before the work begins.
  • Watch for overhead energized lines when transporting equipment to and from the well-site, and when climbing or operating/raising tall equipment – especially during rig up and rig down operations.
  • Watch for bare lines, as well as lines where insulation has worn through.
  • Watch for ground-based energized lines. These lines are often subject to vehicle and foot traffic, resulting in damage to the insulation. Inspect all protective covers to ensure they are in sound condition.
  • Do not work around electrical lines or equipment when you, or the area, is wet. Conditions can often be wet on and around the rig, which increases the risk of electrical shock, even at a distance from the electrical source.
  • Watch for fallen lines, and for whether any fallen lines are in contact with water or conductive metal equipment.
  • Do not work on energized lines or equipment unless you are a trained, qualified electrician working under a live electrical work permit, and using the right tools and PPE (including electrical protective equipment).
  • Perform routine inspections of electrical lines and equipment to ensure that they have not been damaged.
  • Route electrical lines away from access ways, vehicle travel routes, and away from water unless designed or protected for that application.

Keep portable electric tools in good condition using a regular inspection program. Check both tools and cords and turn in any tool that needs repair as soon as you see any defect. There’s no excuse for unsafe equipment. Take the time to inspect all electrical equipment before using it.


KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.