Silica in the Oil and Gas Industry

Report
OSHA’s New Silica Rule and
Its Implications for the Oil & Gas Industry
Jeffrey Jackson and Chris Schlag
1
Objectives
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•
•
•
•
Defining the silica exposure
Overview of OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
Examination of OSHA’s Proposed Silica Regulations
Status Check: Where is the Proposed Rule now?
Discussion on the Potential Impact of OSHA’s
Proposed Standard on the Oil & Gas Industry
• Questions and Answers
Silica (Quartz)
• Silica is a very common material
• Silicon (SI) is the main element
• SiO2 = Silicon combines with oxygen to form silicon
dioxide, which is essentially silica or quartz
• Silica exposures are regulated by the Occupational
Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”)
Silica Exposures
• “Silica exposure” refers specifically to respirable
crystalline silica
• Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica has been
linked to
–
–
–
–
–
silicosis,
lung cancer,
autoimmune disorders,
kidney disease, and
an increased risk of tuberculosis.
• Silica exposures are primarily regulated to minimize
an individual’s risk of silicosis or lung cancer
Silica Exposures
• Silica is found in:
– Cement dust
– Sandblasting operations
– Ceramics
–
–
–
–
Resin-coated sand
Proppants
Aluminum Pellets
Sintered Bauxite
Silica Exposures
• Hydraulic fracturing operations have silica in 7 main
areas:
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
Thief Hatches
Sand Movers
Vehicle Traffic
Transfer Belts
Bender Hoppers
Sand Drops
Sand Transfer Belt (Dragon’s Tail)
Silica Exposures
Silica Exposures
Silica Exposures
Silica Exposures
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
• OSHA regulates silica exposure using a permissible
exposure limit (“PEL”)
• A PEL is the maximum amount of airborne dust that
an employee can be exposed to during a full work
shift (usually a time weighted average for 8 hours)
• The PEL for silica is dependent on the amount of
crystalline silica that is present in the dust
• The current PEL is 100 ųg/m3 as an 8-hour time
weighted average (“TWA”)
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
• Silica exposures are calculated by analyzing:
– The percentage (%) of crystalline silica in the air samples
(also look at percentage quartz, cristobalite, tridymite)
– The total weight of the dust collected in the air samples
– The total volume of air sampled for each sample in cubic
meters (1000 liters = 1 cubic meter)
– Total sampling time for each air sample in minutes
• PEL (Respirable Fraction) = 10 ÷[% quartz + (%
cristobalite x 2) + (% tridymite x 2) + 2]
• PEL (total dust) = 30 ÷ [% quartz + (% cristobalite x 2) +
(% tridymite x 2) + 2]
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
• OSHA’s current silica PEL was established in 1971
• To ensure compliance with the PEL, OSHA also
requires:
–
–
–
–
–
–
Hierarchy of Hazard Controls
Medical Monitoring
Hazard Assessment
Training
Posted Warning Signs
Compliance with Hazard Communication
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
• OSHA currently has a National Emphasis Program
aimed at ensuring compliance with silica exposure
limitations, which consists of
– Programmed inspections for companies and industries
known to have silica exposures
– Enhanced current enforcement efforts aimed at
ensuring awareness and compliance with the silica
PEL
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
• A programmed inspection under OSHA’s National
Emphasis Program consists of:
– Air Sampling and Monitoring
– Respiratory Protection Program Review
– PPE Spot Check
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
• Work Site Inspections
– OSHA typically conducts between 85,000 and 100,000
work site programmed and targeted inspections during
the fiscal year
– Though the total number of inspections has remained
steady since 2000, OSHA has increased the
percentage of inspections at Oil and Gas sites
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
Oil and Gas Industry Inspections
120000
100000
80000
60000
Total Inspections
40000
Oil and Gas Inspections
20000
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
0
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
Percentage Oil and Gas Inspections
0.16%
0.14%
0.12%
0.10%
0.08%
Percentage Oil and Gas
Inspections
0.06%
0.04%
0.02%
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
0.00%
OSHA’s Current Regulatory Framework
Citations for Respiratory Protection Program
Violations
2013
2011
2009
2007
Oil and Gas
2005
General Industry
2003
2001
1999
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
Silica in the Oil and Gas Industry
• In 2013, the National Institute for Occupational Safety
and Health (“NIOSH”) released a report concluding
that Oil and Gas workers had significant silica
exposures, well over the OSHA established PEL.
• The basis of the report:
– NIOSH performed exposure assessments at 11 well
sites in 5 states (CO, TX, DA, AK, and PA) from August
2010- September 2011
– Personal breathing zone samples were collected from
various employees during 8 and 10 hour shifts
Silica in the Oil and Gas Industry
• Assessed health risks to oil & gas workers
• Silica air sampling
– 47% greater than OSHA limit
• 9% of all samples more than 10x the OSHA
limit
– 79% greater than NIOSH limit
• 31% of all samples more than 10x the NIOSH
limit
Silica in the Oil and Gas Industry
• The NIOSH report concluded that Oil and Gas
workers engaged in sand moving operations and “hot
loading” faced significant silica exposures, which
often exceeded OSHA’s PEL for quartz silica
exposures.
• NIOSH’s report also recommended that OSHA’s PEL
for silica exposures be reduced
• In response to the NIOSH report, OSHA proposed a
reduction in the silica PEL, action PEL, and
comprehensive medical monitoring program
requirement
Proposed Changes
• OSHA issued a Proposed Rule on Occupational
Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica on
September 12, 2013
• The Proposed Rule would:
– Restate and reduce the PEL from 100 ųg/m3 to 50
ųg/m3
– Require Employers to employ the hierarchal approach
to silica management
– Require medical monitoring programs
– Require consistent and frequent air monitoring
Opposition to the Proposed PEL
• The Business Community and the Oil and Gas
Industry have actively opposed OSHA’s proposed
standard and argued that
– The need for an enhanced PEL (i.e. NIOSH study was
based on outdated processes and used inadequate
testing) is unclear;
– Oil and Gas companies may be economically or
physically unable to comply with the proposed PEL;
– OSHA’s stated cost analysis for the benefits and costs
if the new regulation are inaccurate; and
– Alternative Approaches are available which would be
just as effective.
Status Check
08-23-13
09-12-13
10-25-13
1-8-14
•OSHA announced proposed
rule for crystalline silica
•OSHA announces proposed
rulemaking for respirable silica
•OSHA extends comment
period based on public input
•OSHA Web Chat on Proposed
rule
1-24-14
3-18-14
3-18-14- 3-19-14
06-12-14
•OSHA extends comment
period for proposed rule to 211-14
•Public Hearings
•NIOSH presented crystalline
silica research at the public
hearing
•OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr.
David Michaels said that OSHA
expected to implement new
Silica Rule in 2016
Status Check
• OSHA has not officially released any new information
regarding the proposed rule since July 2014
• OSHA has indicated however, that OSHA will finalize
the proposed silica rule during 2016
• Covered employers, including those in the Oil and
Gas Industry, could be expected to comply with the
new silica PEL towards the end of 2016 or beginning
of 2017
Impact on the Oil and Gas Industry
• OSHA’s proposed Rule claims that implementation
would result in
– Average annual costs of $1,242 per workplace to
implement
– While preventing the development of 1,600 new cases
of silicosis per year in the Oil and Gas and
Construction industries
• OSHA claims that the new rule is more than feasible
because
– Costs would equal or be less than $637 Million
annually over the first 10 years of implementation and
– The new rule will result in $4.6 billion annually.
Impact on the Oil and Gas Industry
–
OSHA’s proposed rule would require Oil and Gas companies to ensure
complete compliance with the PEL of 50 ųg/m3
–
In effect, Oil and Gas companies will have to ensure the following:
•
Documented air monitoring and surveillance programs
•
Medical monitoring and exams for employees working near sand blasting or fracking
operations
•
Implementation of all feasible engineering controls or product substitutions (largest
expense)
•
Implementation of Respiratory Protection Program with consistent assessments,
testing, and training
•
All Oil and Gas Contractors on a site are in compliance with silica PEL exposure
limitations
Impact on the Oil and Gas Industry
Silica Exposure
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
0
20
40
60
80
Sample Number
100
120
Impact on the Oil and Gas Industry
– Specific work practices in the Oil and Gas Industry that could be
impacted:
•
Fill ports and lock caps may need to be employed on sand movers in sand
operations
•
A reduction in heights between the sand transfer belt and T-belts and blender
hoppers may need to be engineered or installed to reduce the amount of
distance that sand falls through the air
•
Administrative controls may need to be implemented to limit the number of
workers and the time workers spend in areas where dust and silica levels
may be elevated
•
Routine applications of fresh water may need to be incorporated into sand
use operations to reduce dust around the well site
Impact on the Oil and Gas Industry
– Specific changes in the equipment process:
• Belt operations where dust is released may need to be
enclosed under OSHA’s engineering control requirement
• Operator cabs and booths may need to be enclosed and
equipped with HEPA filtration systems
• Modify sand moving from belt transfer systems to auger
systems which have less movement and produce less dust
Impact on the Oil and Gas Industry
– New Legal Challenges:
• Increased Claims by Employees Alleging Injuries
• Negligence Per Se
Conclusion
• OSHA is moving forward with implementing a reduced
silica PEL
• Under the new standard, Oil and Gas Companies will
face new air monitoring requirements, administrative
tasks, and expenses related to minimizing silica
exposures.

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