Offshore platforms are a vital part of the oil and gas industry, but they are also very susceptible to natural disasters. A major concern is the risk of accidents caused by poor lighting. Proper safety lighting can reduce this risk by making it easier to see in low-light conditions, which can prevent accidents.
What is an Offshore Platform?
Offshore platforms are crucial to the global oil and gas industry, and they play a critical role in the safe and efficient production of energy resources. They are also one of the most dangerous places to work in. Most of the accidents that have marred the global oil and gas industry have happened on offshore platforms.
One of the ways to ensure safety on offshore platforms is using safety lighting. Safety lighting helps keep workers and personnel safe by providing a visible pathway for people to walk, so they can get safely to their jobs or evacuate in an emergency.
What is Safety Lighting?
Safety is a top priority for offshore platform operators. Lighting is a crucial tool to help ensure workers are safe as they work aboard the platforms. In 2002, following an incident on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico, all offshore production platforms were mandated by the Oil Pollution Act passed by the United States Congress in 1990 to implement or maintain lighting systems designed to provide adequate illumination for workers at night and improve safety. In the UK, safety lighting on offshore platforms is a prerequisite, mandated under ATEX by the Health and Safety Executive.
The Importance of Safety Lighting
Safety lighting is an essential part of offshore platform safety, and its importance cannot be overstated. In the event of an emergency on an offshore platform, safety lighting can help evacuate workers on time. Additionally, safety lighting can illuminate dangerous areas so that workers don’t inadvertently walk into them. By implementing the right type of safety lighting, operators can ensure a safe and productive work environment for their employees.
Types of Safety Lighting on Offshore Platforms
Today several types of lighting systems are available for illuminating offshore platforms. Each system has its own benefits and drawbacks. Each of these has a different kind of illuminance, colour rendering index (Ra) and glare. They can also be used on a variety of fixtures such as sea surface, helideck, derrick, treatment areas, pipe rack areas, test stations and others. Every offshore platform is unique and therefore requires different kinds of lighting solutions.
However, one of the most important things to check before the installation of any kind of lighting is certification. Company management choosing the lighting solution must check whether the light fixtures are certified by a credible authority such as ATEX or IECEX.
The lighting fixtures themselves can be of various kinds based on where they will be used. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- Floodlights: Like normal floodlights, these are broad-beamed, high-intensity artificial light. They are explosion-proof in nature and are used to illuminate the entire offshore platform.
- Linear light: As the name suggests, these are linear explosion-proof lights and can be used to light up a corridor or a room. The intensity of the light can be adjusted depending on the lighting requirement of a particular area.
- Crane floodlights: The signature feature of any offshore platform is the crane. These explosion-proof floodlights are fitted to the crane for clear visibility. The Crane Floodlight is designed to be highly resistant to vibration and uses a rotary damper to prevent swinging and ensure light is always targeted where required.
Things to remember regarding safety lighting of offshore platforms
Several things must be kept in mind with regards to installing safety lighting on offshore platforms. Here are a few of them:
- Ensuring sufficient lighting in spaces requiring frequent operations and maintenance.
- Emergency lighting must be installed to denote the emergency escape route and fire-fighting equipment.
- Installation positions should be planned to keep in mind the ease of operations and maintenance. In the case of movable lights, avoiding elaborate arrangements is recommended.
- Ensure proper lighting of the entire platform to the maximum extent. Avoid arranging lights on the pipeline to minimize the chances of breaking the gasket and medium of pipe spraying to the lamp.
- The emergency equipment area should have emergency lighting so that the emergency equipment can be operated and maintained properly.
And last, but not least, the light of any lamp should not be affected by any obstacles.
Safety lighting on offshore platforms is not an option, it is a necessity mandated by law. Technological advancement has enabled businesses to get access to customized safety lighting solutions for their specific requirement. The right mix of lighting solutions can bring a world of difference not only to safety at the workplace but also to improving the productivity of workers.