Many people are lured to the oil and gas industry by the promise of high wages. It’s true; you can earn a significantly higher wage or salary than in other sectors. However, you can often find that this pay bracket reflects the many safety risks.
There are over 2,000 oil rig injuries every year, according to The Bureau of Labor. In how many of these situations could those accidents and injuries been avoided? What are the common causes of oilfield accidents, and what are the risk factors? Read on to learn what you need to know about the oil and gas extraction industry.
The Most Common Oilfield Accidents
Oilfield accident lawyers in Texas and other states of the United States are often busy with oilfield worker claims. While it’s a risky industry, there are plenty of hazards that don’t need to exist if managers and owners took more care.
Some of the most common accidents involve transportation, electrical hazards, particular environments and confined space, explosions, and blowouts.
According to the CDC, from 2003 to 2013, two-thirds of oil and gas extraction industry accidents were transportation incidents. These include general transport-related accidents and oilfield truck crashes.
Inclement weather, poor road conditions, and long and irregular work hours are among the leading contributors to these crashes.
The oil and gas sector uses some of the most advanced technology in the world. With that comes many electrical hazards. Electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic accidents are common – but many are preventable. Managers and owners may be able to reduce the risk of such accidents by marking ground connections and educating staff on operating procedures.
Environments and Confined Spaces
Working in challenging environments and confined spaces is not always avoidable in an industry filled with hazards. In saying that, following OSHA laws may be able to limit the risks of injury.
All workers should be trained to follow OSHA safety laws and educated on avoiding exposure to harmful vapors and gases.
Blowouts & Explosions
Given the presence of hydrocarbons and volatile gases, explosions and blowouts are a genuine threat. Workers should be trained in how to work and drill safely in these environments.
Risk Factors of Oil and Gas Sector Accidents
Ask any experienced personal injury attorney, and they will tell you that no oilfield is a risk-free place to work. However, as they have learned from many filed claims, managers and owners of oilfields must do their part to minimize those risks as much as possible. All too often, the following risk factors lead to injuries and deaths that may have been avoidable.
Even the most experienced oilfield worker can make fatal mistakes when they are fatigued. Long and often irregular hours can lead to fatigue and potentially deadly mistakes. Longer working hours are also more common during an oil boom. An oil boom is when high global oil prices or oil production lead to a significant income increase.
Inferior Safety Procedures
Given how many hazards there are in this industry, safety procedures are necessary. Without them, accident and fatality rates can be high. If workers do not carry out safety checks, maintenance, and repairs or are not trained in protocols and safety procedures, then accidents can happen.
You have to start somewhere in a job. That’s how you gain experience and learn. In saying that, the oil industry is one that has very little room for error. During oil booms, workers can sometimes be in short supply. Companies may hire workers who lack experience. Combine this with inferior safety procedures, and you have a recipe for disaster.
What to Do Next?
If you or a loved one has been involved in an oilfield accident, it’s essential to know that you have rights. Notify your supervisor of an incident, gather your evidence, and contact an oilfield injury attorney. At J. Alexander Law Firm, we can help explore the avenues of compensation for your pain, suffering, lost wages, and medical care.