As the petroleum industry explores in the more remote corners of the world, standards of performance in safety and occupational health management of seismic and exploratory drilling operations must be set in unregulated environments. One example of our efforts to partner with contractors is a specifically tailored occupational health training course. Attendees have been company employees and contractors, thus enabling interaction between various operational aspects.

In these operations we face not only unique stressors particular to each environment but also the presence of traditional stressors to a degree unparalleled in the typical industrial setting. For example, biohazards is a recurrent theme woven throughout the four-day version of this course. Hygiene, food and water provisions, and design of a functional camp are examples of discussions, led by company medical personnel, involving control of biohazards.

Life Safety is a practical discussion of logistics pertaining to accommodations, modes of transportation and security.

Traditional training areas such as chemical hazards and noise are also covered although some of the scenarios which present these various stresses can be very different from what is seen in large fixed facilities. For example, chemical handling is often required to be more hands on with a large number of relatively small containers because of space and transportation limitations.

Illness classification in remote areas deserves special consideration in this program. Employees who live in low-risk areas for certain diseases and who must travel to high-risk areas for company business have an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases from environmental exposures including malaria, hepatitis, filariasis and cholera.

On the last day participants divide into four groups (arctic, jungle, marine and desert) to identify the stresses in a camp setting and determine appropriate means to address them. This case study exercise generates many excellent, practical ideas. The hazards and scenarios discussed in the course offer a unique opportunity for participants to expand their knowledge and take the information gained back to the field.

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