Because of the very nature of petroleum products, there are many hazards involved in the handling and
storing of them. The greatest and most obvious is fire. However, we must not overlook the many health and
safety hazards in addition to fire that are also present in petroleum facility operations.
PART A - LABORATORY SAFETY AND EMERGENCY FIRST AID
As an NCOIC of a petroleum laboratory, you will have to prepare and review petroleum laboratory fire
prevention and safety SOPs. You will have to cover such things as: safety, standards of behavior, fire
prevention procedures, assignment and positioning of fire fighting equipment, procedures for handling
chemicals and petroleum products, first aid procedures, equipment inspections, training, and ensuring that
the fire fighting equipment on hand is appropriate for the types of fires anticipated. It should be noted that all
the procedures mentioned above are the same for each laboratory SOP and should be adapted to your
Common emergencies which we are exposed to every day are instances where we can receive minor
wounds, minor burns, foreign bodies in the eyes, and electrical shocks or electrical burns.
Minor Wounds. Most small wounds, such as cuts, do not usually bleed very much. Infection from
contamination is the principle danger. If you receive a minor wound, take the following first aid measures:
Do not allow anything to touch the wound, except as described in the minor burn and foreign body in the
eye sections below.
Wash the surrounding skin thoroughly with soap and water. Gently clean the wound. If a disinfectant
solution is available, apply it to the wound. In no instance should solutions stronger than 1:750 be used.
Place a sterile compress over the wound without allowing it to touch anything else and secure it with a
Minor Burns. Minor burns may be caused by exposure to dry heat, hot liquids, chemicals, electricity, or rays
of the sun. If you receive a minor burn, you should immerse it or flush it with the coldest water available until
the pain subsides (usually about 5 minutes). Minor burns are of two types:
Small burns which include blistering or charring. Since the skin is most likely to break when it is blistered
or charred, cover it with a sterile compress to protect it from contamination and possible infection. Do
not attempt to break the blisters. Secure the compress in place with a bandage.
Burns with no blistering or charring. If the burn does not cause the skin to blister, char, or break, it is a
minor burn even though it may cover a large area of the body, as in a mild sunburn. It is not necessary
to cover such a burn with a sterile compress.
Foreign Body in the Eye. Foreign material that may enter the eyes during laboratory operations include
particles such as dust, glass, or metal and caustic or irritating material, such as acid and chemicals.
Foreign Particle. If a foreign particle gets into the eye, do not rub the eye. If the particle is beneath the
upper eyelid, grasp the eyelashes of the upper lid and pull the lid up and away from contact with the
surface of the eyeball. Hold the eyelid in this manner until tears flow freely. The tears will possibly flush
out the particle.
Glass or Metal. If the foreign particle is glass or metal or it cannot be removed by the techniques
described above, bandage both of the soldier's eyes and get him to a medical treatment facility
immediately. If only one eye is bandaged, the soldier will use his unaffected eye. Since eye movements
are synchronized, use of the unaffected eye may result in movement of the affected eye, thereby
subjecting it to further injury.
Caustic or Irritating Material. If caustic or irritating material, such as acid or ammonia gets into the eye,
immediately flush it with a large volume of water. To flush the right eye, turn the head to the right side;
to flush the left eye, turn the head to the left side. This prevents the caustic or irritating material from
being washed into the other eye. The soldier should be immediately evacuated to the nearest medical
treatment facility for care to prevent further damage.
Electrical Hazards. Electrical hazards fall into two categories: shocks and burns.