The oil and gas industry can be a lucrative yet notoriously risky place to work. Plenty of potential injuries awaiting oil and gas extraction workers – including explosions, fire hazards, hazardous chemicals, equipment malfunctions, and more. Most of these risks fall under the purview of negligence, either at the hand of your oil and gas industry employer or another worker not following the correct protocols.
The good news about personal injuries resulting from negligence is that you will likely be entitled to compensation. If you can demonstrate that your injuries were someone else’s fault, you could receive money to cover the consequences. A personal injury settlement may cover considerations for medical bills, property damage, mental anguish, pain and suffering, lost wages, and wrongful death – depending on the specifics of your case.
The best way to maximize your chance of receiving compensation is to hire a personal injury attorney with experience handling cases like yours. Here at Abraham Watkins, our team of oil and gas industry accident lawyers has the experience and determination to bring you the financial justice you deserve.
Do not let the oil and gas industry take advantage of you. Find out how to seek compensation for your oil and gas injuries by arranging a free consultation today at 713-535-9319.
Negligence Is The Leading Cause Of Oil And Gas Industry Accidents
The answer to what is the leading cause of injury in the oil and gas industry is not as clear-cut as pointing to one specific type of accident. However, a considerable percentage of oil and gas industry accidents can be categorized under one umbrella – negligence.
Negligence is a key part of personal injury law, for both workers and general members of the public. Essentially, when someone violates the duty of care, they can be considered negligent. If someone violates this duty of care. For example, driving recklessly or not following the correct safety precautions in the oil fields where you work, this person can be considered negligent.
Suppose your personal injury attorney is able to demonstrate that someone violated their duty of care to you, and this negligence caused you to sustain injuries or complications. In that case, you will likely be eligible for compensation.
Fires, Explosions, And Burn Injuries
Oil and gas extraction industry workers are unsurprisingly at a high risk of fires, explosions, scalds, and burn injuries. These risks are prevalent because oil and gas are, by their nature, highly flammable substances.
Furthermore, high-pressure lines present a significant explosion risk. Even if there are no open flames involved, hot surfaces and other areas make burns a common occurrence.
Out of all of the hazards facing oil and gas workers, explosions and serious burn injuries are among the most catastrophic injuries possible – and, unfortunately, these can often lead to on-site fatalities. Family members of those who have suffered fatalities are able to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for their loss.
Hazards Caused By Heavy Machinery And Moving Vehicles
The gas extraction industry is home to many types of heavy machinery, large vehicles, and elevated equipment with the potential to cause serious injury to oilfield workers, oil rig workers, and other industry-related settings.
Oil and gas workers can sustain injuries by these vehicles and machines in many ways. Heavy equipment operated without proper training can pose a serious risk. Even with proper training, it is not uncommon for workers to get caught in equipment, struck by a moving vehicle, or struck by falling equipment.
Hazardous Chemical Substances
Another way the oil and gas industry presents occupational safety risks to its workers is through the presence of potentially dangerous chemicals like hydrogen sulfide.
Well sites, oil rigs, and gas facilities contain many reserve pits, shale shakers, storage tanks, surface equipment, and other areas where these hazardous gasses and chemicals are stored or could collect or leak by accident. There is an incredibly high risk of these hazards in confined spaces as confined spaces allow the concentration of poisonous gas to reach potentially lethal levels very quickly.
Workers must be provided with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from these hazards. We will delve deeper into PPE in a later section.
As is typical with many other industries, sites purposed for oil and gas extraction are likely to be teeming with high-voltage electrical sources, all of which pose a significant risk of fatalities or severe injuries if improperly maintained or covered.
One significant occupational safety risk for oil and gas workers is that there may be multiple sources of risk in any one setting, allowing workers to be caught between hazards. This may be between a dangerously exposed electrical current and a hazardous chemical, or an out-of-control fire, or any of the other hazards listed on this page.
When thinking about electrocution risk for workers in these environments, it is important to remember that the equipment and machinery is likely to involve hugely high voltages. Fatality rates for electrocutions are very likely to be high, as the voltages involved are high enough to cause serious injuries or worse.
While we usually think of injuries resulting from fall accidents as being in the (comparatively) minor category of broken bones and concussions, the very nature of oil and gas extraction involves potentially very high areas from which someone could fall.
If a workplace with oil and gas is not properly secured with guardrails, or if spillages are not dealt with, fatalities are a possible consequence. Workers on oil rigs may fall into the sea, while oil field workers have their own settings where they could plummet tens, if not hundreds of feet.
As mentioned above, workers falling is not the only risk involved when we think about large heights in the oil and gas industry. A worker who is struck by falling production equipment from a great height could easily suffer huge injuries.
The long shifts associated with jobs at oil and gas companies also contribute to occupational safety hazards. In order to keep workers safe, oil and gas companies need to make sure their employees have adequate rest and observe the legal requirements for breaks and consecutive shifts.
If not, fatigued workers are at a higher risk of both suffering from and causing accidents. A fatigued worker at the engineering controls is more likely to make a mistake with machinery that could endanger somebody else’s life, just as a sleepy worker is more likely to be clumsy and get caught in heavy machinery.
Improper Safety Equipment
Earlier on this page, we mentioned personal protective equipment (PPE). Having the correct PPE is essential to all oil and gas employees, drilling contractors, and anyone else on an active site.
The specific protective gear required will vary depending on the environment but may include gas masks, fall protection equipment, hard hats, and protective gloves. OSHA standards set out a detailed list of the different types of PPE that must, by law, be provided to workers in each environment. Failure to provide this equipment is considered negligence by the employer.
Outdated Or Poorly Maintained Equipment
Another common cause of oil and gas injuries and safety violations is due to the care, maintenance, and necessary replacement of outdated equipment.
Equipment that is not properly maintained and subject to frequent safety checks is at a higher risk of failure or malfunction, as is outdated gear that should be replaced by the latest model to ensure worker safety. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for large oil and gas companies to cut corners and attempt to save money by endangering the safety of their workers in this way.
When it comes to malfunctions, negligence can be more complex to prove – as the responsibility may lie with the person whose job it was to maintain the gear. The oil or gas company could be responsible, or even the original manufacturer if a design fault should have been recalled. Each of these situations can still leave you entitled to compensation.
Our Lawyers Are Here For Injured Oil And Gas Workers
You could be entitled to compensation if you have suffered injuries or a family member lost their life due to an oil and gas industry-related accident.
As long as the accident was not the injured party’s fault, a personal injury lawyer may be able to work with them to reclaim the cost of lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and more. Your legal journey with Abraham Watkins starts with a free consultation, where we tell you the likelihood of your case being successful and give you an idea of the process ahead of you.
Seize the justice you deserve today and call Abraham Watkins for a free consultation at 713-535-9319.