HSE Award: How to use a Safety Hammer 

A Neuquen well service team identified an opportunity for improvement by developing a mechanical tool. They presented their innovative development and came top in the Best Project category of the first edition of the HSE Award.

Receiving the HSE AwardSebastián Buzaglo, from Oscar Blanco, the HSE manager in the Neuquen Basin and Vaca Muerta, and Martin Bengochea, director of the Neuquen Basin and Vaca Muerta.

When one takes a closer look at the statistics of occupational accidents in the Oil & Gas industry, it’s clear that a significant number of injuries to people’s hands and bodies are due to the use of manual impact drivers. 

Based on this information, the managers at Fortin de Piedra, Neuquen, Sebastián Buzaglo, the Head of Well Services, Pablo Cejas and Franco Ciucci, both supervisors, developed a Safety Hammer pneumatic hammer to be used specifically for mobile separator assembly operations.

"A mace is a tool widely used in industry: although a little rustic, there are always basic tasks that involve hitting things to secure them," explains Sebastián. He adds that the separator travels to measure each well’s potential throughout the week, requiring flow lines to be joined. This is done using a mace weighing five kilos, instrumental to a task which can sometimes require anything between twenty-five and thirty blows per joint, for example, along twenty-five meters of line. 

For this reason, to protect the safety of operators working in the field, the team decided to request their contractor PGP to include the use of the Safety Hammer in the tender, and Pablo and Franco–as Supervisors–trained the PGP workers how to use the tool. 

The new tool was introduced in November 2021, and the first conclusions show that in addition to preventing work-related injuries and overexertion, the time taken to link lines during assembly was reduced by about 25%. Another positive result is that using a Safety Hammer better adjusts the joints thus protecting the facilities as a whole by increasing the useful life of the wing nut.

After studying these encouraging indicators, Sebastián and his team submitted their project to the first edition of the Neuquen Basin HSE Award, designed to showcase preventive behaviors which make a difference and distinguish people for their initiative and innovative thinking. The HSE Committee and the Operations Management departments picked out the Safety Hammer device as the winner in the Best Project category. 

"We are very happy with the process and want to expand it to other contractors," says Sebastián, adding that being able to identify opportunities for improvement and reduce risks is the result of carefully observing how people work and talking to the teams on-site to see which activities are the riskiest and involve handling heavy loads.

Experience at Fortín de Piedra

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