Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (Aug. 2014)
The government of the Northwest Territories (NWT) Will start developing regulations that will set out filing requirements for projects involving hydraulic fracturing.
David Ramsey, Minister of Justice and Industry, Tourism and Investment, said on June 2, 2014 that the government has been working on this issue since 2012 and had already undertaken research into environmental best practices used by industry and regulators in other jurisdictions.
“Any regulations we do develop will be based on current science, recognized best practices and will consider all the views presented during consultations,” Ramsey said, adding that the government would consult with MLAs, the public, Aboriginal communities, industry and other stakeholders. The regulations, to be developed under the NWT Oil and Gas Operations Act, will provide clarity to decision-makers, industry and the public about filing requirements.
Fracking has spurred worker safety concerns, particularly around the risk of exposure to silica. “We are all aware of the proposed hydraulic-fracturing activities in the Canol Shale and the often heated and polarized debate around the use of hydraulic fracturing is a technique to extract petroleum from certain kinds of rock formations,” Ramsey said, noting that the Canol Shale holds an estimated 2 to 3 billion barrels of oil.
The announcement came around the same time that Yukon’s Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing said it would travel to 12 communities in the territory from June 23 to June 26 to hold public hearings, with the mandate of developing a science-based understanding of hydraulic fracturing.
Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, says some of the industrial chemicals used in the fracturing process are carcinogenic, but the “real risk due to exposure is unknown.”
Fracking sand also contains water, silica sand and chemicals, which poses the risk of silicosis, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Silica is a Designated Substance and must be properly regulated. I am wondering why a hazard assessment of the Fracking operations was not completed before the work was to start. Assessment is the standard at most workplaces today and the need to recognize the hazards eliminates or reduces incidents/accidents at the workplace because of a proactive approach.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.