Making land seismic crews and land transportation safer

I recently conducted an HSE audit on a land crew in Europe, possibly connected with my previous experience of the same crew from some years back.

As most people in the seismic business know, land Transportation is probably the single biggest hazard to land operations and working in Europe, with the stringent traffic controls and fast infrastructure can be a big challenge for HSE folk.

Traffic control on a fleet of vibrators shooting long listening times with multiple sweeps, gets a bit hairy when the local residents are bombing past within inches at 100 kph. Often these seismic projects are in rural areas too, with people from sleepy little villages and backwaters suddenly finding themselves with another 100 or so vehicles in the country lanes, ranging from crew pick-ups to vibes and drill rigs, all mixing it up with the School run or local farmers in a hurry to harvest the potatoes, and there is a distinctly increased risk of unwanted “Interaction”.

On the crew I was auditing last week, in a very small area by seismic project standards, there had been two collisions (NOT associated to the crew) reported in the local press.

Together with the crew HSE Advisor, I went to the location of the two incidents to have a sniff around and see what I could find.

Using my HSE superpowers of 20:20 hindsight, it was quite easy to see why they had occurred; greatly impeded visibility at a junction in one case (fields of maize 3m tall) and a roadside cafe situated near a junction on a 100 kph stretch of straight road.

Talking to one of the crew supervisors who had been on crew for some weeks he told me of three stretches of highway on the project area that gave him cause for concern. They both mixed high speed public motoring with slow speed seismic traffic, which is a good recipe for frustration among the locals and risky maneuvers to avoid the hold ups caused by the seismic operations.

I recalled using the OGP 365 “road risk assessment process” on occasion, and pondered its usefulness in raising awareness among this crew. The OGP RA is primarily designed to review particularly hazardous roads in remote places but I felt sure it could be re-jigged to fit the rural European scenario, so it went into the audit findings as a “strong recommendation”.

I have asked that they keep me posted on the results of the RA, and there is a strong possibility that the crew will have finished production by the time the Verif-i Q4 newsletter comes round, in which case I will let you all know how they get on.

I would also be glad of any feedback from professionals out there who have any other ways that could be used to help control the risks of land transport management.