High-pressure hoses bring high risks for the oil and gas industry. Hose failure has been the culprit in numerous explosions and spills that have been massively expensive, both in terms of dollars and lives lost.
Proper hose maintenance can make all the difference. Let’s look at some warning signs of failure and how new reporting technology is assisting with proper hose maintenance on offshore rigs.
Identifying Red Flags
First, it’s crucial to know the warning signs of a high-pressure hose at risk of failure. The oil and gas industry uses hoses that are very different from other industrial hoses, because they’re capable of handling high pressure, rugged environments, and constant high-volume use.
What might not be a red flag in other industries should be a BIG red flag in the oil and gas industry. Warning signs of a high-pressure hose in need of maintenance include:
- Leaks of either materials or lubricants
- Momentary loss of pressure
- Turbulence or vibration
- Unexpected contamination and debris
- Kinks, indentations, and bends in the hose body
- Small frays and nicks along the hose or near fittings
- Excessive noise or heat beyond normal specifications
- Low or excessive flow, including intermittent movement
The Cost of Ignoring Warning Signs
All of the little issues listed above might not seem like a big deal day-to-day, but they can add up to a sudden leak, spill, or explosion. To prove this point, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) points to incidents where major accidents were caused by minor maintenance issues.
For example, at J&R Valley Oilfield Services, a vacuum truck operator was directed by a rig supervisor to hook up a cargo tank directly to the casing side of a wellhead using a 15-foot suction hose, intending to catch a small overflow of light crude oil and make a good seal. Although a damaged bonding cable was obvious, the maneuver was attempted and an explosion occurred, due in part to previously-welded tank that was ruptured by overpressure.
In this incident, the truck driver was instantly killed by a flying manway cover. An OSHA investigation revealed no inspection procedures in place for hoses and no maintenance plan for the equipment involved in hooking up vacuum trucks.
Looking back at the situation, it’s clear that a bonding cable had noticeable damage, a tank had been re-welded due to wear, and the company didn’t have a reporting schedule in place. Other companies can learn from this example, which resulted in a fatality, more than $20,000 in OSHA violations, and an expensive settlement with the victim’s family.
Maintenance and Reporting
Now let’s look at how a tech solution could have helped this company avoid a dangerous situation. The FirstHand app from Zeteky, which is a real-time reporting app for mobile devices, is well suited for the oil and gas industry.
FirstHand gives companies the power to oversee all equipment and locations, right from a virtual dashboard that serves as a central vault of information. Out in the field, workers are empowered to instantly report safety issues and improper procedures. They simply snap a photo or upload a note into the FirstHand system.
In the J&R Valley scenario, way before the explosion ever occurred, the vacuum truck operator or rig supervisor - or any oilfield worker - could have reported issues using FirstHand. The moment the frayed bonding cable became obvious, safety procedures would have been in motion. And the risk presented by worn hoses and tanks could have been caught by regular monitoring.
Regular checks are the key to risk management. When reporting becomes routine, safety becomes a priority across the organization. A real-time reporting app sets your workforce up for success, because it’s easy to use and already right in everyone’s pockets.
Ready to see how FirstHand could help your oil or gas company monitor safety?