A word from Tony Broomfield, Verif-i’s HSE Advisor

Like a lot of consultants I have spent a great deal of time working in the MENA regions and at certain times of the year the Middle East can provide a number of challenging issues for HSSE people.

The most obvious is the potential for very high temperatures in summer. Back in 2009 in Algeria we were experiencing 50 °C and it lasted for many days.

The highest temperature we recorded was 57 °C and when it is that hot drastic measures have to be taken. As I recall we started work at 0400 and stopped at Midday with a second shift starting around 1600 working through to nightfall.

Of course there was a great deal of time put in to make sure there were ample supplies of cool fresh water, shades and awnings were supplied to each group and we also mobilised the 2 crew ambulances so that the medical staff could monitor the field operatives closely.

The importance of this monitoring process cannot be overstated. The development of obvious symptoms of heat stress is usually too late to prevent the stress itself, and often requires a drip to replace fluids effectively and a spell of time off work to recuperate. (Of course we then enter into the LTI/MTC discussion, so prevention is very much better than cure).

I also picked up a Business article last week pointing out that the World Cup in Brazil is having quite an impact on people and the fact that they are watching the competition late into the night and then taking a day off work to recover.

Something else that HSSE people have to watch out for on a similar note is the onset of Ramadan, which combined with Heat and World Cup Football has the potential to disrupt sleep and work patterns and put people into the field when they would be better off staying in bed.

All of these aspects need some serious planning as well as an understanding of local cultures and a firm but respectful strategy to make sure we get the work done in a safe and healthy way.

Spare a thought for the service staff that provide the food or run the laundry at camp. These folk are often seen working doubly hard to try and satisfy the demands of the different nationalities and culture so often found on modern seismic crews.

It seems inevitable that with Ramadan, World Cup and 50 °C+ temperatures, seismic production may well take a knock, but if it has been planned and managed properly the effects should not be too drastic, and the HSSE Stats should reflect that too.