Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fracking & Drilling Hazards: Beyond Respirable Silica

An OSHA hazard alert indicates that increased fracking and drilling may increase worker exposure to hazards other than respirable silica, including ergonomic issues, chemical exposure and potentially flammable atmospheres. The alert, “Hydraulic Fracturing and Flowback Hazards Other than Respirable Silica,” states that more workers are potentially exposed to the hazards created by hydraulic fracturing and flowback operations due to the large increase in the number of such operations in the past decade. Approximately 35,000 wells are hydraulically fractured in the U.S., per the hazard alert.

Fracking operations increased concurrently with horizontal well development, which requires multiple stimulation stages per well, according to OSHA. OSHA and EPA each have dedicated websites that provide additional information on these processes. Download the alert here to learn more about acceptable exposure levels and recommended mitigation strategies.