As many people know, the jobs of extracting and transporting oil and gas are neither simple nor particularly safe endeavors. These tasks are time-consuming, dangerous, and involve the careful transportation of highly flammable and toxic substances on city streets and highways.
In the oil and gas industry, trucks are used in a wide range of capacities. Some drivers may transport a variety of equipment, products, and other supplies, including:
- Oil and gas products to customers;
- Equipment between job sites;
- Water to drilling sites;
- Gravel and rocks for lining pipeline corridors;
- Oil drilling rigs for different field locations; and
- Food and other provisions.
A significant number of fatalities relating to the industry are associated to deaths on the road. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 4 out of 10 workers killed in the oil and gas extraction industry are killed in highway motor vehicle accidents.
Some of the recommended methods for employers to prevent work-related roadway crashes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) include:
- Ensuring that drivers are operating at regular hours and for appropriate lengths of time;
- Ensuring drivers’ driving performance is regularly monitored and recorded;
- Providing company vehicles that offer the highest possible levels of occupant protection;
- Adopting a structured vehicle maintenance program;
- Ensuring drivers are properly licensed for their type of vehicle and that their records are regularly maintained; and
- Implementing safety training for drivers and equipment operators.
So how can fleet managers improve the safety of oil and gas transportation? Major benefits can be found through the use of effective global positioning system (GPS)-based fleet management software.
Monitor Hours of Service to Avoid Driver Fatigue
In December 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s new mandate regarding Electronic Logging Device (ELD) use was put into effect. This automated reporting of hours of service (HOS) for drivers who must submit records of duty status (RODS) may seem like an impertinence for drivers and fleet managers, however, there are benefits to it.
The reports allow fleet managers to easily track:
- When their oil and gas transportation drivers are on the road;
- The location of fleet vehicles;
- How many hours they spend traveling;
- How long vehicles spend idling; and
- A variety of other information to ensure HOS compliance.
Driver fatigue is a serious issue facing any drivers — this is particularly true of fleet drivers who spend extended hours traveling on the road. By knowing when and for how long individual drivers are on the road, you can address any concerns about potential dangers that can result from driver operating while fatigued.
Improve Schedule and Route Adherence
An important component of oil and gas fleet safety involves choosing the best driving route and adhering to an optimized schedule that avoids congested areas and travel times. However, without effective GPS tracking software, it is difficult for fleet managers to know for sure the location of those vehicles and whether the schedules are being maintained.
This is where our software can come in handy. Rastrac’s GPS fleet tracking software make it simple for managers to plan and verify routes and schedules. In addition to ensuring HOS compliance, this also provides better service to your customers who are waiting on any deliveries and helps to minimize risks of accidents on the road.
Monitor and Address Inefficient Driver Behaviors
While it’s true that fleets often have good drivers who obey the rules of the road, that’s not always the case in individual instances. GPS tracking for oil and gas industry vehicles is useful in monitoring a variety of driver behaviors that can help you ensure your fleet is operating using safe and efficient driving habits.
Behaviors like hard braking are acceptable in limited uses, however, they should not be demonstrated as regular driving practices. Bad behaviors like rapid braking and acceleration are wasteful and increase the risk of collision.
Ensure Vehicles are Regularly Maintained
Effective GPS fleet and asset management software allow oil and gas fleet managers to ensure that preventative maintenance functions are performed regularly on every individual fleet vehicle. Not only will this help to ensure that your fleet vehicles are running in good condition, it also helps to ensure that they are safe to operate and increases the lifespan of the vehicle.
Some of these proactive fleet maintenance tasks include:
- Regular servicing;
- Lubrication and fluid replacements;
- Repairs and part replacements;
- Vehicle testing; and
- Engine adjustments.
There are many other uses for GPS tracking software for oil and gas industry fleets. To learn more about fleet management systems for oil and gas field services, be sure to click on the banner below to download our free tip sheet.