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Controlling Chemical Hazards

Chemical Mixing; Liquid and Dry


Enform: Your Partner in Safety

Enform is the upstream oil and gas Hazards
industry’s advocate and leading The mixing area provides an opportunity for exposure to chemicals and products at the point at which
resource for the continuous
improvement of safety performance. powdered products or liquid additives are introduced to the operation. Typically this occurs through a cone
Our mission is to help companies shaped venturi hopper. The narrow bottom section of the cone has a fluids circulating pipe passing through it
achieve their safety goals by providing
practices, assessment, training,
and a choke provides a jetting action within the pipe which draws the materials added into the fluid being
support, metrics and communication. circulated. The products and the associated additives are usually handled manually at the hopper. This can
Our vision is no work-related incidents give rise to dust or splashing. Both of these conditions may be hazardous. More modern facilities enable
or injuries in the Canadian upstream
oil and gas industry.
powdered products to be handled mechanically even to the point of removing and disposing of the packaging.
Liquid additives can be pumped into the hopper instead of manually poured. The handling of powdered
An Industry Product sacked products and liquid products from drums or cans, and the mixing of bulk powders such as barite, can
This guidance sheet was developed by
industry for industry! Working cause exposure. Primarily this will be inhalation exposure as there may be dust associated with the
collaboratively, Enform led cross- movement of products in the storage area or with mixing products into the hopper. However, skin contact can
industry representatives in developing
a guidance sheet that meets the
also occur, particularly with powdered materials.
industry’s needs. Canada’s leading oil
and gas industry trade associations Alternatively, products and additives can be handled in bulk form from pre-loaded containers and added to
support the use of guidance sheets to
help companies of all sizes improve the drilling fluid system from a remotely operated control zone, minimizing exposure at the rig site. Appendix
performance. 1 provides more detail about potential exposure to chemicals while mixing.
This guidance sheet is intended to be
flexible in application and provide Access Control
guidance to users rather than act as a
prescriptive solution. Recognizing that
Restrict access only to authorized staff that have been trained and equipped to work safely.
one solution is not appropriate for all
users and situations, it presents Equipment and Procedures
accepted guidance that generally
apply to all situations. While Enform Select less hazardous additives if possible (e.g., low
believes that the information contained
herein is reliable under the conditions silica content bentonite and barite, low aromatic content
and subject to the limitations set out, base fluids for oil based mud systems).
Enform does not guarantee its
accuracy. The use of this guidance
Enclose the mixer as much as possible, and provide
sheet or any information contained will seals on the lid and other access points.
be at the user’s sole risk, regardless of Consider automating and enclosing mixing system to
any fault or negligence of Enform and
the participating industry associations. eliminate need for direct worker contact with additives
(see GS 303 Containment).
Copyright/Right to Reproduce
Copyright for this document is held by
If enclosure is impracticable use local exhaust ventilation
Enform, 2011. All rights reserved. (LEV) hood that is positioned as close to the source of
Enform encourages the copying, the dust or vapor source as possible (see GS 302
reproduction and distribution of this
document to promote health and Control Approach 2).
safety in the workplace, provided that Airflow across the whole mixer top should be towards the
Enform is acknowledged. However, no
part of this publication may be copied,
LEV and away from the workers adding materials.
reproduced or distributed for profit or Where possible, use lids on the mixer to contain dust and
other commercial enterprise, nor may vapors.
any part be incorporated into any other
publication, without written permission Where possible, locate the working area away from other
of Enform. work areas to prevent exposure to other workers.
Discharge extracted air (from LEV) to a safe place away
from workers.

If LEV or enclosure is not practicable, respiratory protective equipment is required unless occupational
hygiene monitoring demonstrates visible dust, mist or vapor concentrations are less than 50% of
occupational exposure limits (see GS 304 Control Approach 4 and GS 305 Exposure monitoring).
Maintain the equipment as advised by the supplier/installer, in effective and efficient working order. Employee checklist for
Get information on the design performance of the ventilation equipment from the supplier. Keep this making the best use of
information to compare with future test results. the controls:
Visually check the ventilation equipment at least once a week for signs of damage.
Have the ventilation equipment examined and tested against its performance standard - generally at  Make sure the
least every year. ventilation system is
Keep records of all examinations and tests for at least five years. switched on and is
Personal Protective Equipment
 Make sure the air
Respiratory Protective Equipment movement is across
NIOSH approved P-95 (or P-99 or P-100) with combination organic vapor cartridge (if hydrocarbons or away from your
also present) if no local exhaust ventilation or enclosed process unless occupational hygiene monitoring face, and try not to
demonstrates dust, mist or vapor concentrations do not exceed 50% of occupational exposure limit (see lean into the mixer
GS 304 Specialist and GS 305 Exposure monitoring). when adding
Self Contained Breathing Air: To be used when H2S may exceed 10 ppm (see GS007 Working with materials.
H2S & GS401 Selection and use of respiratory equipment).
 Look for signs of
Other Personal Protective Equipment damage, wear or
poor operation of
Personal H2S Monitor: To be worn at all times (see GS402 H2S Monitors).
any equipment
Fire Retardant Coveralls: To be worn at all times (see GS403 Fire Resistant Clothing).
used. If you find any
Chemical resistant gloves, clothing, boots and eye protection (goggles) are required if direct contact problems, tell your
with additives (see 400 Reducing skin contact and GS 404 Gloves). supervisor.
Cleaning and Housekeeping
 Do not carry on
Keep all work areas neat and free from debris. working if you think
Clean up chemical spills promptly (see GS 406 Spill response). there is a problem.
Training and Supervision  Make sure that
paper bags and
Employer responsibilities other waste
 Gather and provide safety data sheets on the chemicals that will be present at the workplace. material are not
 Use the Controlling Chemical Hazards Guideline to assist in defining the procedures and control drawn into the
approaches you need to follow to protect worker health and safety. ventilation duct.
Supervisor responsibilities  Wash your hands
 Ensure the availability of the required Guidance Sheets for chemical management. before and after
 Ensure the availability and use of appropriate protective equipment. eating, drinking or
 Complete and review with workers the chemical management process and the applicable Safety Data using the bathroom.
 Review safe work procedures with workers before they start work.  Clear up spills
Worker responsibilities
 Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.  Use vacuum
 Follow safe work procedures. cleaning or wet
 Ensure spills and leaks are quickly cleaned up. mopping/sweeping
 Wash contaminated clothing before reuse. for solids. Contain
or absorb spills with
granules or mats.
Dispose of spills

 Use, maintain and

store any PPE
provided in
accordance with

Further Reading and References

1. Enform - IRP Volume #14 - Non Water Based Drilling and Completions / Well Servicing Fluids
2 QEPA Literature Review of Oil Industry Worker Exposure
3. IPIECA Drilling fluids and health risk management
Appendix 1 Mix area potential exposure to chemicals (exerpt from IPIECA Drilling fluids and health risk management)
General influencing factors: design and type of mix equipment; indoors or outdoors; space and layout of the work area; general or local exhaust ventilation;
health and safety culture of the workforce, e.g. PPE discipline; ambient temperature.

Task Purpose Exposure duration Type of exposure Influencing factors

Introducing ● Mixing through a venturi ● Variable, hours to days ● Drilling fluid system additives: ● Venturi hopper design
solid chemicals hopper inhalation and skin contact of ● Packaging type
to the drilling dust ● Bulk transfer tanks
fluid system ● Skin contact with contaminated ● Solid material characteristics
surfaces ● Volume to be mixed

● Direct to mix tank/pit ● Variable, several hours ● Drilling fluid system additives: ● Mix system configuration
inhalation and skin contact of ● Packaging type
dust ● Solid material characteristics
● Skin contact with contaminated ● Volume to be mixed
● Splashing

● Through automated mixing ● Variable, several hours ● Normal operations, no dust/ ● Reliability of the system
system possibly days splashing exposure, as fully ● Suitability of products for use in
contained system the system
● Suitability of packaging

Introducing ● Mixing through a venturi ● Variable, hours ● Drilling fluid system additives: ● Venturi hopper design
liquid hopper skin contact with contaminated ● Ergonomics
chemicals to surfaces, potential for splashing ● Packaging type
the drilling ● Liquid material characteristics
fluid system ● Volume to be mixed

● Direct to mix tank/ pit ● Variable, hours ● Drilling fluid system additives: ● Mix system configuration
skin contact with contaminated ● Packaging type
surfaces, potential for splashing ● Liquid material characteristics
● Volume to be mixed

● Through automated mixing ● Variable, hours ● Drilling fluid system additives: ● Reliability of the system
system skin contact with contaminated ● Suitability of products for use in
surfaces the system
● Suitability of packaging

Handling ● Containment and handling of ● Hours, continuous during ● Drilling fluid system additives: ● Packaging type
packaging waste packaging materials, mixing operations skin contact with contaminated ● Chemical characteristics
sacks, big bags, drums, surfaces ● Chemical compatibility
intermediate bulk containers ● Dust and vapor inhalation from ● Waste collection, storage and
handling waste disposal methods

Storage of ● Sack and drum storage of ● Short term, intermittent ● Skin contact with ● Packaging type
chemical chemical additives to be contaminated surfaces ● Chemical characteristics
additives used in mixing process ● Dust and vapor inhalation ● Layout and design of
from handling damaged storage area
packaged materials
Manual ● Movement of sacks and drums ● Short term, intermittent ● Skin contact with ● Packaging type
handling of of chemical additives to and contaminated surfaces ● Chemical characteristics
chemical from mix area ● Dust and vapor inhalation ● Ergonomics
additives from handling damaged
packaged materials

Mechanical ● Movement of packaged ● Short term, intermittent ● Dust and vapor inhalation ● Packaging type
handling of chemical additives to and from handling damaged ● Chemical characteristics
chemical from mix area packaged materials