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Hydraulic Fracturing – Flowback


After fracturing the entire well, workers decrease the pressure at the wellhead and drill out the isolation plugs. A mixture of fracturing fluid and gas or oil flows back out of the well through flow lines into pits or tanks.

Process: Flowback


  • Struck by high pressure lines
  • Fires and explosions
  • Inhaling hazardous gases or vapors
  • Exposure to high noise levels


  • Direct all non-essential personnel to stay clear of the work zone.
  • Follow procedures to release trapped pressure safely.
  • Ground and bond tanks used to hold flowback fluid (also known as frac tanks).
  • Route flowback fluid through a gas buster system.
  • Use wood gauges to monitor fluid volume in frac tanks.
  • Use monitors with lower explosive limits to warn of the presence of flammable gases.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment, such as respiratory, skin and hearing protection, as appropriate for the hazards present.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration © 2012, 2015, 2017 Zywave, Inc.

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