Safety Guidelines for Handling Chemicals Used in Fracking

It is critical to adhere to strict safety policies when handling chemicals used in the fracking process. Hydraulic fracturing fluid spills lead to surface water and soil contamination. This may result in serious health consequences for individuals exposed to these spills. The main setback is that even state agencies do not test for all fracturing fluid chemicals. Holistic water and soil sampling need to be done in order to identify the actual chemicals.

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Common complaints associated with contamination from such spills include cloudy or murky water, rashes from showering, increased methane in water, diesel fuel or petroleum odors, and decreased or complete loss of water flow. Citizens from affected regions have, therefore, reported adverse impacts to water quality in the wake of hydraulic fracturing.

How To Control Fracking Fluids

The chemicals pose a threat to human health until they are disposed of. It is possible for the fracking fluid to resurface after drilling. Such fluid can contaminate underground water if the right measures are not in place. The fracking process should also be carried in an area where risk of contaminating any drinking water supplies is minimal.

Testing

Even before the drilling process begins and after it has started, there should be regular testing to ensure the safety of the workers and any residents that may be surrounding the work site. The goal of this testing is to locate and plug any leaks of fracking fluid chemicals that may occur.

Safety Tips For Working With Fracking Chemicals

It is important to note that there is nothing at work worth risking your life over. You should ensure that you and your co-workers follow safety precautions while working with harmful chemicals. The following are essential tips to observe when working with hazardous chemicals:

(a) Always keep a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher in an accessible area: This will help prevent injury in case of any emergency such as fire or injury.

(b) Always dispose of chemicals properly: Hazardous chemicals should be safely removed by appropriately certified technicians. They have special receptacles for hazardous materials. You should never throw them in the trash or pour them down the drain.

(c) Avoid drinking, eating or smoking while you are working with hazardous chemicals.

(d) Avoid storing chemicals near flames or places where flame may be used: If the chemical is flammable it could cause a fire to begin.

(e) Label all chemicals: Avoid using a chemical that is not clearly marked. Such a chemical could be volatile if you mix the wrong chemicals unknowingly. If a chemical bottle is not clearly marked do not use it unless you are certain, you know what it is.

(f) Always wear protective gear: You should wear gloves in your hands to safeguard yourself from accidental spills. You should also wear a lab coat to make sure nothing is dropped or spilled on your clothes. Additionally, goggles should always be worn anytime you plan on using chemicals so that the eyes can be protected.

Quick Safety Checklist to Bear in Mind When Handling Chemicals

  • Know all the chemicals you use
  • Maintain personal decontamination equipment
  • Tobacco, food, and beverages should not be brought into chemical use areas
  • Always maintain and use required safety equipment
  • Wear proper eye protection
  • Review and understand hazards prior to using a chemical
  • Identify chemicals before use

To summarize, chemicals used in the fracking process may expose workers and residents to severe health hazards when not handled correctly. The above safety precautions should be observed while working with such chemicals. In any working environment, the proper safety practices need to be adhered to. The time taken to prevent any mishaps is worth much more than trying to find a solution afterward.

About the author:

The writer, Edrick Hypolite, is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in oil and gas related topics. For keeping your workers safe when working with any chemicals he highly recommends training and consultation from eCompliance. You can learn more about Edrick on Google+.