Federal agencies, including OSHA and the CDC, have issued a warning about the danger of inhaling hydrocarbon chemicals at oil wells, following the deaths of nine workers in the past five years. According to an Associated Press report, all of the deaths involved people at crude production tanks after taking specific oil samples, called “tank gauging.” Colorado and North Dakota each had three deaths, Texas, Oklahoma and Montana each had one. An investigation by The Denver Post found that most of the deaths had originally been attributed to natural causes or heart failure and that none of the deceased had been accompanied or watched while tank gauging. High concentrations of inhaled hydrocarbons can result in disorientation, and sufficiently prolonged exposure can be fatal. Among the recommendations issued to industry were the importance of providing training on the use of respiratory protection and using engineering controls to perform gauging and venting remotely.
Read more from AP via FuelFix here.