How Catastrophe Can Hit on an Oil Field
Oil field work is a hazardous occupation in which workers risk serious injury on a daily basis. Potential accidents on an oil field include toxic chemical exposure, falls from heights, heavy equipment failure, and gas explosions. If you have been seriously injured on an oil or gas extraction site, depending on the nature and cause of your injuries, you may be entitled to recover compensation from a third party, in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.
Fatal Injury Statistics for the Oil and Gas Industry
Oil and gas well drilling and servicing come with unique hazards that place workers at substantial risk of serious injury or death, as stated by OSHA. A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) census of fatal occupational injuries found nearly 100 deaths per year among 300,000 workers on approximately 5,400 rigs. These numbers represent a risk of more than 12 deaths in every 1000 workers over 45 years.
The BLS census reported 93 fatalities in the oil and gas industry out of a total of 337,600 workers. Of these oil field worker deaths:
- Nearly one-third were caused by contact with objects and equipment
- One-third resulted from transportation incidents
- 15% were caused by exposure to harmful substances and environments
- 10% were caused by falls
- 4% resulted from fires and explosions
- 4% were caused by assaults and acts of violence
Common Accidents in Oil and Gas Well Drilling
Oil and gas drilling accidents are alarmingly common, and can happen with little warning. There are many different types, but all are devastating, especially for the brave workers stationed on the rigs. Some of the most common kinds of accidents that we have seen are:
Fires and explosions: Flammable gases released from wells, tanks, trucks, and equipment can be ignited by static electricity, friction, open flames, or other sources. Explosions result from pressure build up.
Well blowouts: This involves an uncontrolled release of crude oil or natural gas. Blowouts occur when pressure control systems in wells fail. A spark or contact with electricity during a blowout can lead to catastrophic fires.
Heavy equipment failure: Oil field workers are required to operate heavy equipment on the job site. When heavy equipment fails, it can cause serious injuries.
Fracking accidents: In the fracking process, water or a fluid mixture is injected under high pressure into a borehole to create cracks in deep rock formations, through which petroleum or gas can flow. This is an inherently dangerous activity.
Falls from heights: Oil and gas extraction work may be performed on equipment or a platform that is high above the ground. Falls account for a significant percentage of oil field worker fatalities.
Common Injuries Among Oil Field Workers
Dangerous working conditions in the oil and gas industry can lead to a range of injuries. Unfortunately, most potential injuries aren’t minor. In fact, most are catastrophic, and can leave a worker in incredible pain. This pain may ease as they recover, but it may also last a lifetime. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Head trauma and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Skull and facial fractures
- Facial lacerations
- Herniated or ruptured discs
- Fractured vertebrae
- Spinal cord injury
- Sprains and strains
- Burns ranging in severity from first to third-degree
- Chemical burns, lacerations, cuts, bruises, puncture wounds, and other skin injuries
Why You Need a Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in an oil field accident, you will need to recover the maximum compensation available. Your best chance of obtaining a full recovery is to have an experienced attorney by your side. Our Longview personal injury lawyers at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP have years of experience and a successful track record representing injured workers. Call us at (903) 207-5526 to get a dedicated legal advocate on your side after serious oil field injuries.