New Report Addresses Food and Water Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry
Food and water safety is of paramount importance to the effective functioning of the oil and gas industry. Diseases related to food and water are major contributors to project morbidity and can have significant and adverse effects on workforce productivity, particularly during large-scale construction phases of a project.
Ipieca, the oil and gas association for advancing environmental and social performance across the energy transition, and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, has release their latest guide for the industry, this time addressing food and water safety for workers.
The food safety strategies outlined in the report are based on the two recognized building blocks of food management programs: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 22000:2018—food safety management systems. Water safety management systems guidance documents can be found on the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
Oil and gas operations take place in a myriad of settings, ranging from remote desert environments to densely populated urban areas; hence, there is a need for food and water safety management programs in both developing and developed countries, and in settings ranging from retail operations to frontier exploration projects. Even in remote settings, oil and gas operations do not exist in a complete population vacuum. Industry activities are extremely susceptible to negative effects that can arise from inadequate food and water safety planning. Outbreaks of acute gastrointestinal illness commonly occur in crowded living accommodations or communities where people are crowded together and can spread quickly in semi-enclosed environments.
The threat/vulnerability assessment critical control point (TACCP/VACCP) approach to food and water risk management is especially useful in remote areas where the supply chain can be affected by a variety of factors. TACCP/VACCP approaches are management processes designed to defend a food supply chain from the threat of intentional adulteration. Prerequisite programs for water supply and management must be included in contracts for provision of services and be appropriately resourced in terms of time, equipment, and budget.
The focus of the guide is internal, “inside the fence” food and water safety programs, as opposed to either external community outreach efforts or an assessment of the potential health effects of oil and gas activities. The report is aimed at corporate and project level health, safety, and environment managers; operations managers; company physicians; clinic medical staff; occupational health and hygiene supervisors; and company, contractor, and franchise retail site managers and staff.