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Oil Workers wearing Tyvek® coverallsDecember 2010-Working in the oil and gas industry means workers are exposed to a wide range of hazards including chemicals, oils and lubricants as well as exposure to fine dusts, liquid aerosols, splashes, liquids and gases as well as the risk of working in a potentially explosive atmosphere. Selecting the right protection for employees in this environment can be an onerous task as clothing needs to provide protection against these hazards. The range of protective coveralls and clothing by DuPont is specifically designed to ensure workers facing multiple hazards remain protected and its solutions work together to offer the highest level of protection.

Upstream and downstream activities which recover and produce crude oil and natural gas from its raw state out of the ground (upstream) and refine crude oil and sell or distribute natural gas to the industry as end products (downstream) require complex protective clothing that needs to offer protection against a multitude of hazards. Workers in these areas are presented with hazards that, if not properly protected, could result in serious injuries or long-term occupational diseases.

Upstream workers are faced with various hazards through contact with oil and gases during drilling and blowouts and other hazardous chemicals and materials. For example, painters who have to paint or repaint installations as a result of sea damage are continually faced with splashes from chemicals and sea water as well as having to operate in confined spaces. During his whole work, the wearer requires clothing that is durable and abrasive resistant, that can protect against chemicals and other hazardous materials that may be encountered and that offers thermal protection too.

Workers in downstream applications are also exposed to various hazards. For example, those carrying out inspections and maintenance during a refinery shutdown could be exposed to chemical as well as thermal hazards due to the explosive nature of this environment. Therefore these workers require chemical protective garments that can work in conjunction with fire resistant garments.

From July 2006, the ATEX Directive  was introduced to ensure that people working in potentially explosive atmospheres were properly protected. As part of the directive, ‘explosion protection zones’ or ‘Ex-zones’ are identified and classified into various categories depending on the frequency and length of time the hazard exists. This classification enables the relevant protective garments and accessories to be selected. In order to ensure sufficient protection for the wearer, Nomex®, Tyvek® and Tychem® products have antistatic properties and meet the requirements of the ATEX Directive. A comprehensive fact sheet “Working safely in potentially explosive areas” with DuPont coveralls, is available from DuPont.

Over the last 35 years, DuPont has been actively engaged in transferring its knowledge and experience in industrial safety to companies worldwide and through its high performance brands is able to offer personal protection from thermal, mechanical and chemical hazards. DuPont’s experience in overall protection means its products can complement each other and work together to offer the highest level of protection.

For people working in the oil and gas industry, DuPont™ Tyvek® and Tychem® coveralls can offer much needed protection against chemicals and particulates. DuPont™ Tyvek® non-woven material delivers inherent barrier protection, is durable and breathable and the Tyvek® Classic and Tyvek® Classic Plus single-use coveralls offer protection against fine particles and low pressurized inorganic water-based chemicals of low concentration.

The Tychem® range of single use chemical protective coveralls offers lightweight comprehensive protection from a broad range of toxic chemical splashes under pressure to biological hazards. It is commonly used for oil handling, land decontamination, industrial cleaning and maintenance and for typical chemical industrial applications where protection against biohazards is needed. The range includes Tychem® C, F, C2 and F2. These products offer protection against a wide range of chemicals in terms of permeation performance. The F range offers excellent barrier against a range of liquid petrochemicals. On top of their excellent chemical barrier, Tychem F & F2 suits are lightweight and do not require the amount of maintenance needed compared to conventional heavy reusable chemical protection.

Suits made of DuPont™ Nomex® are also available. In order to protect against the possibility of flash fires, Nomex®, an inherent flame resistant fibre, is used to help protect against burn injuries. The flame resistant properties of Nomex® are inherent in the molecular structure of the fibre and not chemically added which means it cannot be washed or worn away. In the event of a flash fire, the skin, if protected by a garment incorporating the Nomex® fibre is likely to escape second and third degree burns that could occur if conventional fabrics are worn.
The DuPont TEMPRO single use coverall is a flame resistant coverall to protect the Nomex® suits from dirt & grime.

DuPont products offer a solution to the multiple hazards faced by people working in this hazardous industry.

Valérie Pierret, DuPont Marketing Manager said: “We have worked closely with companies in the industry to ensure that our product ranges meet specific industry needs. Oil and gas workers need to be protected from chemical and thermal hazards and our suits and accessories can offer this. Tyvek® and Tychem® have been specially engineered to protect against chemicals and particulates whilst Nomex® is renowned for its flame resistant properties. Together these products can offer much needed protection as well as being durable and comfortable.”