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Working on existing wells to restore or increase oil and gas production is an important part of today’s petroleum industry, yet these operations present many occupational hazards for workers. The following list highlights potential hazards and safety solutions to promote a hazard-free work environment.

Removing the Horsehead


  • Unit starting up while working on the equipment
  • Being struck by counterweights on the pumping unit
  • Being struck by a dropped horsehead or caught between the horsehead and walking beam Falling from high elevations


  • Use lockout/tagout to mechanically secure the flywheel.
  • Inspect all slings before use
  • Use tag lines to position the horsehead when removing or lowering, and to keep employees clear of suspended loads. Use the correct tools for the task at hand
  • Keep fingers and hands away from pinch points
  • Secure tools from falling, and keep areas below clear of others
  • Use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and abide by the fall protection program

Removing the Wellhead and Pulling and Running Rods


  • Being struck by released pressure or flying particles
  • Being struck by the wrench or hammer while removing bolts and fittings Getting caught between the wellhead, hydraulic wrenches and wellhead fittings
  • Getting your fingers and hands pinched and caught between flanges and valves Falling into well cellars


  • Stand clear of valves and fittings when removing the fitting or bleeding off pressure.
  • Check the wellhead pressure and bleed pressure off before removal.
  • Wear proper PPE (hard hat, work gloves and safety-toed footwear) and safety glasses or goggles.
  • Keep your fingers and hands away from pinch points.
  • Cover open cellars and wear appropriate fall protection.
  • Use caution while others are working overhead.
  • Avoid carrying tools while climbing the derrick ladder. Instead, raise tools with a line to any worker above the derrick floor.

Pulling and Running Tubing


  • Being struck by elevators and traveling blocks as they are raised and lowered
  • Getting fingers and hands pinched between elevators and tongs or tubing collars


Stand clear of tongs and slip areas when lowering the elevator and traveling block. Use handles on elevators as they are descending into place over the tubing. Inspect and maintain all ladder equipment.

Contact INSURICA today to learn more about your oil and gas coverage options.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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