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Bolting tools: The importance of safe working practices within the oil industry

It goes without saying that the use of hydraulic and high-pressure equipment can provide risks in the working environment, especially within the oil industry. Numerous methods are used to tighten, maintain and loosen bolts and connectors. Thankfully, there are a number of accredited bodies and professional training programmes in place across the globe, than can ensure all technicians follow safe working procedures that follow industry standards.

Regulations and standards around bolting

Bodies of the Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement (BSEE) have been working to address frequent issues that raise serious safety and environmental hazard concerns, such as faulty connector bolts in safety-critical offshore. The material and strength of bolting for critical and harsh environments, such as oil rigs, includes references to agencies and bodies.

  • Standards
  • Specifications
  • Recommended Practices

These standards only represent the minimum requirement, but it is vital that they are met.  Such standards are an integral part of the design process that must include identification and review of all applicable standards that must be followed, as well as best practices.

Hazards around bolting

While the tools themselves are developed to reduce hazards, they also introduce new hazards. Therefore, careful selection of the right equipment for the job is imperative to ensure the work is optimised and risks are reduced.

Hand-controlled tools such as Hydraulic torque wrenches and tensions, use power precision to tighten and loosen bolts. If the operator isn’t careful when the tool is live, there is the possibility of minor and fatal injuries occurring. Some of the dangers involved when using hydraulic tools are:

  • A jet of hydraulic oil injection
  • Equipment that isn’t serviced or maintained
  • Pushing the equipment to full capacity
  • Not releasing stored pressure
  • Hand related injuries (crush and pinch point)

Safeguards should be implemented when using hydraulic tools and systems to avoid accidents and improve production levels.

Safeguard of tools

Companies such as HTL Group design tools and test them in-house to ensure that their bolting tools are safe to be used in high-risk environments. Harsh environments such as subsea and working at height can be made safer by using tools that are specially designed for the job at hand.

Designed with safety in mind, their tools have built-in features which enable operators to carry out challenging applications safely and more efficiently.

Working at heights

Operators within the UK working at height are at risk of injury due to dropped objects. Dropped objects still rank in the top three of the UK’s workplace hazards with over 7,000 non-fatal injuries being reported.

Subsea Operations

Working Offshore is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry. Operators are at high risk of accidents caused by the complexity of deeper drilling depths, and they require specific tools for subsea bolting operations.

Safety by Design

Your dedicated supply partner should ensure that you’re getting the highest quality equipment. All equipment should be tested and designed with in-built safety features. To maintain the highest safety standards, companies such HTL offer decades of expertise, as well as the right industry knowledge to support the use of their tools and help ensure the safety of operators.