Growing production of oil and natural gas is a major draw for refining, chemical and power generation industries along the Gulf Coast. Due to new technology such as fracking and horizontal drilling, as well as recovering oil prices, production has increased tremendously.

Chemical companies use fossil fuel byproducts to make chemicals such as ethylene and polyethylene— the world’s most common plastic. Natural gas is more efficient and more environmentally friendly, so the power industry is utilizing more to produce the electricity we use every day.  In addition, new industries, such as the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) market have emerged and become major contributors to countries’ economies all over the world.

In order to keep up with growing demand and supply of this natural gas, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in constructing new facilities and expanding existing facilities in our region. In addition, current infrastructure is being retrofitted to take in this new, cheaper alternative in natural gas.

New construction facilities mean exposure to new risks and environments for thousands of new workers. All of this is in addition to the maintenance of on-going operations of facilities that have been in place for decades.

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We’ve identified the top three risks the industry currently faces:

Risk 1: One of the largest risks right now is an inexperienced workforce. Finding experienced and well-trained people is becoming increasingly difficult.  More facilities mean a larger demand for workers with a small labor force to choose from. In addition, experienced workers from the baby boomer generation are continuing to retire and take with them years of knowledge. Younger employees are replacing this workforce and their inexperience leads to potential incidents.

Risk 2: New facilities without a history of operations, can expose workers to unforeseen hazards. Attention to detail and being proactive are key to a safe work environment.

Risk 3: The risks for disasters such as hurricanes, floods and active shooter scenarios are higher than ever. The consequences can be devastating if not properly prepared. Facilities are challenged with constantly improving response protocols for these disasters as well as proactively communicating with emergency response agencies.

We have found a home with these clients by training the workforce, protecting the work environment through our on-site consultants and protecting employees through medical support. Protecting and saving lives is our mission, whether that is during a capital project, expansion or on-going operations.

Our team takes great pride in minimizing the risks and growing pains of new and existing facilities so that clients can focus on their core business without compromising safety.

Click here to learn more about SMS’ consulting and medical services.

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