The Texas oilman’s eyes cloud over as he remembers the time he saw his friend die while working on an oil rig. While safety is a top priority within the oil industry, being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be deadly and many oil field workers lose limbs or lives each year.

South Texas is currently enjoying a major boom in the oil industry; the price per barrel recently hovered around $100, up from less than $10 in the late 1980s. Oil drilling activity is on the rise nationwide with the recent discovery of vast deposits of oil and natural gas trapped in shale rock formations. However, the rise in oil business appears to lead to an increase in worker deaths and serious accidents.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 710 oil and gas workers died on the job nationwide in a six-year period of time, an amount more than eight times the national average for all occupations. There were seven oil field deaths in South Texas last year, a number more than double what it was just a few years ago.

The National Occupational Research Agenda Oil and Gas Extraction Council is trying to understand why so many die working in the oil fields. Most worker deaths occur because of flying debris, moving rig equipment and blowouts – an uncontrolled build-up of pressure that causes fluids and gases to unintentionally and forcefully escape from the borehole. Frequently, the blowout starts on fire, the likes of which are seen in Hollywood movies, making the situation even more dangerous to workers.

All oil industry workers know that the risk of dying is part of the job. Even so, if you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to an oil field or oil rig accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. An accomplished lawyer who is knowledgeable about oil field injury claims may be able to help you obtain compensation for your losses.