October 05, 2020
How dangerous is oilfield work? The answer to that question is that it can be very dangerous. Oilfield workers are constantly exposed to heavy equipment, heights, chemicals, and moving vehicles. They often work long, tiring hours. Workers may be pressured by employers to do more work in less time. They must deal with bad weather conditions, including high winds, strong storms, freezing temperatures, and intense sunlight. All of these things can lead to serious accidents that result in injuries and even fatalities. But oilfield jobs often pay well, so many workers take the risk so they can provide a good income for their family.
When accidents and injuries occur, though, that paycheck may be lost. Medical and other bills can mount up. In order to avoid possible financial ruin, some injured workers turn to oilfield accident lawyers who help them understand their rights when they are injured on the job. Speaking with an experienced oilfield lawyer can be a smart thing to do. Oil companies have a duty to keep employees safe. If they negligently fail to do that, workers shouldn’t have to pay the devastating financial price in addition to the physical one.
Just How Dangerous are Oil Rigs? Very Dangerous, According to the Numbers.
Injury and fatality numbers highlight just how dangerous oil rigs are. Statistics have shown that oilfield workers suffer seven times as many fatalities as workers in other industries. During one five-year period, approximately 500 oil and gas workers were killed on the job nationwide, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thousands more were injured.
What is the Most Dangerous Job in the Oilfield?
There are several dangerous jobs in oilfields. Here are five oilfield jobs that are among the most dangerous.
- Derrick operators – Derrick hands run mud pumps, maintain drilling equipment, and perform other tasks. In addition to operating dangerous heavy equipment, they often work at heights. This puts them at risk for falls if proper safety equipment and procedures are not in place.
- Roustabouts – Roustabouts, or roughnecks, help with a variety of things in oilfields. They handle drills, pumps, and other equipment that can malfunction and cause serious mishaps.
- Truck drivers – Driving accidents are a leading cause of death for oil workers. Semi-truck drivers and other oil transportation workers on oilfields are expected to put in long hours, leading to fatigue and accidents.
- Drillers – Drillers run the drills that bore into drill holes. They also handle other oil rig equipment.
- Motormen – Motormen are responsible for working with and maintaining equipment, including engines.
How Do People Die on Oil Rigs?
Some of the common causes of oil rig deaths include:
- Falls from heights
- Burns from flammable chemicals
- Inhaling toxic substances
- Being struck by objects or crushed between objects
- Equipment and machinery malfunctions
- Motor vehicle crashes going to and from rigs.
Even when workers don’t die in oil rig accidents, they can suffer severe injuries. Serious injuries oil rig workers may sustain include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord fractures
- Eye injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Soft tissue damage
- Puncture wounds.
How Many Oilfield Workers Die Each Year?
One oilfield worker death in any year is one too many. Sadly, though, an average of more than 100 oilfield workers die on the job every year throughout the country. Texas consistently leads the country in oil worker deaths. In just one year that was measured, 44% of oil industry deaths happened in the Lone Star State. These numbers are not acceptable. But in an industry where safety shortcuts may be taken by oil companies in order to speed up production, they may not be surprising.
What to Do If You Are in an Oilfield Accident
If you are in an oilfield accident, there are several steps to take. These steps are for your own health and well-being. They are also important in order to get workers’ comp insurance if your employer carries it and should the circumstances warrant a legal claim.
Following an accident:
1. Seek medical help. Depending on your injuries, you may be taken to an emergency room. If your injuries are not as obvious, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible. Sometimes serious injuries don’t show up right away.
2. Report the accident to your employer as soon as you are able. You may be asked to fill out a written accident report. Fill it out honestly and just as you remember the accident’s happening. Don’t blame yourself for the accident. Let the investigation into how it happened run its course.
3. Gather names and contact information of witnesses. Take photos of your injuries and the accident site, if you can. These things may help your case in a legal claim.
4. Keep a file with copies of all your medical records. You might also keep a regular journal of how your pain and injuries affect your daily activities.
Also, consider speaking with an attorney. An experienced Texas oilfield accident lawyer can help ensure you are not denied workers’ comp coverage if your employer carries it. They will also review your accident to determine who was potentially liable. You may be able to bring a legal claim. Typical things asked for in lawsuits include compensation for medical bills, time missed at work, pain and suffering, and more.
What to Do If Your Loved One Has Died in an Oilfield Accident
Depending on the circumstances of your family member’s accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. An oilfield accident lawyer can advise you based on the facts of your case. In Texas, surviving spouses, children, and parents can sue for wrongful death. In a successful wrongful death claim, you could get compensation for medical expenses, burial and funeral costs, lost earnings, lost care and support, and other damages.
Contact a Skillful Oilfield Accident Lawyer for Help
Oilfield work can pay well, which is why many people put up with its dangers. But if you are injured on an oilfield and lose your ability to work, all that money goes away. For this reason, it is very important to speak with an experienced oilfield accident attorney after an injury accident. You may be able to get compensation during your recovery that can help you move on with your life.
At the Waldman Legal Group, our skilled Houston oilfield accident lawyers will fight to hold the party responsible for your injury, or your loved one’s death, accountable. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at (713) 688-4878.