Employment in the oil and gas industry situates workers among the most dangerous jobs in the world. Unfortunately, breaking news stories about a fire or explosion that injured or killed multiple people air far too often.
Large-scale catastrophic incidents, such as explosions, are common in industrial plants and worksites, yet they aren’t the only looming threat. Employees working on an oil rig or servicing a pipeline, for example, face a fatality rate seven times higher than they might in other fields.
Four common industry dangers
Because of the inherent injury potential of working with complex machinery, heavy equipment and hazardous materials at job locations that often including many different teams of specialized workers, employers and worksite operators must consider how they can minimize risk for individuals in every position.
A comprehensive needs assessment should begin with recognizing how and where a worker could get hurt. For example, employees might sustain a personal injury through:
- Job completion often includes involvement with moving machinery and high-pressure hoses around various control systems. Industry-wide, deaths due to being caught between or struck by objects account for 60% of worksite fatalities.
- Like anyone who drives for a living, employees tasked with transporting hazardous materials face the risk of traffic-related accidents, potentially behind the wheel of a poorly maintained company vehicle. Combined with other motorists’ distractions, motor vehicle accidents claim more lives of oil and gas workers than any other type of industry-related incident.
- The great majority of fatal falls among oil and gas workers relate to inadequate protective equipment and devices.
- Working in small spaces presents the possibility of becoming trapped during an emergency.
Given these hazards, and many others, employers must continually prioritize workers’ safety. When negligence lends itself to the unimaginable, seeking accountability may be the first step in a family’s path toward recovery.