Back and hand injuries are among the most common types of injuries that occur while engaging in pressure pumping at the wellsite. This is not surprising given the heavy iron that must be lifted off trucks, carried into position, and then connected using hammers. The challenge is to implement engineering and human factor controls to minimize risk to employees.
This question was posed to an outside group of ergonomics experts. Consultants were used because their opinions were less likely to be biased by potential preconceptions of those working around the hazards for years. These consultants were requested to evaluate the ergonomics of rigging up, running a job, then rigging down pumping equipment. They visited wellsites and witnessed a variety of locations and job types.
Based on the prioritized conclusions of the ergonomists, a customized back-safety training program has been piloted to address body mechanics. The study has also led to the identification and sharing of best practices for equipment design. It also resulted in the creation of a prejob preparation video that highlights stretching exercises that should help reduce the potential for injury. Preliminary results of the pilot program are encouraging.