Automation Could Be the Key to Your Oil and Gas Lone Workers’ Safety

Automation Could Be the Key to Your Oil and Gas Lone Workers’ Safety

Employers in the oil and gas industry need to leverage automation to enhance the safety of lone workers, who face significant risks in remote and isolated job sites.

In May, a 61-year-old man was working on an Alaska oilfield when he was killed by a front-end loader. Sadly, tragic incidents like this are all too common in the oil and gas industry, which is known for the high-risk and highly dangerous occupational safety hazards that its workers must regularly face.

Between 2015 and 2022, more than 2,000 severe work-related injuries were reported to OSHA by the oil and gas industry with researchers finding that, even though they “represent a small proportion of the U.S. workforce, these workers are consistently overrepresented in reports of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities.”

On a daily basis, this small percentage of the overall workforce puts their lives and well-being at risk to help provide lower energy costs for Americans, keeping our communities and businesses alive and running. While small in comparison to other sectors, oil and gas extraction employs nearly 130,000 people, with many already working alone. This includes those who staff various positions in the sprawling oil and gas processing facilities and plants as well as field workers performing different jobs at remote locations to which they may also have travel alone.

To help protect oil and gas workers working in remote, isolated locations, employers need to leverage technology and the latest innovations in occupational health and safety like advanced automation in several important areas. Automated technologies can help address many significant safety hazards these people unfortunately experience, making their work environments safer and more secure.

A Dangerous Industry

Like many other industries, the major safety hazards they face can include explosions and fires, vehicle accidents, toxic gases and chemicals, impact from heavy equipment and slips and falls. Employees working alone are at more risk because help may not be accessible should they need it in an accident.

Lone workers in the industry, such as oil field operators and pipeline technicians, can be more at risk of being harmed by these hazards due to the challenge of providing emergency help from one of the serious hazards mentioned above. Due to their isolated circumstances, communication and requesting help can be a challenge, but locating their exact location to send this help can be a major safety issue as well, especially out in large areas of remote oil fields across Texas and New Mexico. The challenges in communication and location tracking can significantly impact the response times and outcomes in an emergency. Additionally, working alone and in isolation may take a toll on the worker’s emotional health, impacting their work and overall well-being.

How Automation Enhances Safety for Lone Workers

  • Real-time monitoring. Use of automated systems for continuous monitoring of lone workers' health and safety.
  • Remote assistance. Technologies enabling immediate support and guidance from remote locations.
  • Emergency response systems. Automated alerts and emergency protocols that activate when an incident is detected.
  • Safety wearables. Smart wearables that monitor vital signs and environmental conditions, alerting workers and supervisors to potential dangers.

Why Automate?

It is how automated technologies address the occupational challenges of working alone in oil and gas that justify their use and why employers must explore their application for work safety. But automation brings other benefits including the expedition of repetitive physical tasks, eliminating the risk of human error and musculoskeletal injuries. This allows the worker to focus on more important work and priorities like their safety and well-being, especially when working alone.

Automation will perform work that the employee does not need to worry about. For example, current devices can provide live monitoring, detecting toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) right away. Additionally, automation extends to safety monitoring procedures—such as automated check-in systems—that alert the employer or safety monitor if the worker needs emergency help.

Product Showcase

  • Matrix's OmniPro Vision AI Collision Avoidance System

    OmniPro Vision AI is a state-of-the-art collision avoidance system that features NIOSH award-winning Visual Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. This highly accurate, powerful system identifies and alerts on pedestrians, vehicles and specified objects, ensuring safer facilities, mining operations and industrial sites. With its web-based cloud application, OmniPro Vision AI also logs and analyzes a wide range of data related to zone breach notifications. Operating without needing personal wearable devices or tags, OmniPro has visual and audible zone breach alerts for both operators and pedestrians. Read More

  • Magid® D-ROC® GPD412 21G Ultra-Thin Polyurethane Palm Coated Work Gloves

    Magid’s 21G line is more than just a 21-gauge glove, it’s a revolutionary knitting technology paired with an advanced selection of innovative fibers to create the ultimate in lightweight cut protection. The latest offering in our 21G line provides ANSI A4 cut resistance with unparalleled dexterity and extreme comfort that no other 21-gauge glove on the market can offer! Read More

  • Preventative Heat Safety

    Dehydration and heat exposure impair physical and cognitive performance. Proper hydration boosts heat stress resilience, but hydration needs are highly individualized and hard to predict across a workforce. Connected Hydration® empowers industrial athletes to stay safe through behavioral interventions, informed by sports science, and equips safety teams with critical insights to anticipate high-risk situations and adapt to evolving environmental factors. Curious about applying the latest in sports science based hydration strategies for industrial athletes? Stop by booth #1112 at AIHA or schedule a free demo today at Read More


Artificial Intelligence