If there is one state where the oil and gas industry has been profitable, it is Texas. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas alone produced 1.85 billion barrels in 2019. The increased boom of the oil and gas industry in Texas means that there is an increased need for oilfield workers. However, this boom has also contributed to an increase in oil and gas fatalities.
In fact, Texas alone had the highest rate of oil and gas fatalities in 2017 with an astounding 44 deaths, compared to second-place Oklahoma with only six, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Texas oil field accident attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger discuss oil field fatalities in today’s blog.
How Texas became the greatest state for oil and gas production
Texas has experienced a significant increase in the oil and gas industry since 2018. In 2021, Texas was responsible for contributing 43% of the nation’s oil production and 25% of its natural gas production. When it comes to electricity generation, Texas contributed a substantial amount of production in that resource as well. The state was responsible for producing 26% of all of the nation’s wind-powered electricity generation. Texas produces the most electricity within the United States, and is responsible for 12% of the nation’s total electricity net generation. It is safe to say that Texas takes the lead in the nation’s energy consumption in all sectors.
How the oil boom contributes to oil and gas accidents
It takes a lot of manpower to keep the energy production consistent. This is where oilfield workers come into play. Even though oilfield workers benefit from the need for oil and gas production, they also put their lives on the line to make a living. There are many dangerous workplace conditions on oil refineries that put many workers at risk on a daily basis.
What are the dangers of oil refineries?
One of the dangerous aspects of an oil refinery is the possibility of a fire or an explosion. These accidents can instantly kill workers. Another dangerous aspect of an oil refinery is the constant exposure of toxic chemicals. Workers who are exposed to toxic chemicals on a daily basis can develop serious health conditions long after they retire from the industry.
One of the most dangerous aspects of an oil refinery is its need to produce resources in a swift manner. Workers are in a stressful environment where production takes priority over safety. Oilfield companies make a choice every day to generate profit and ignore dangerous workplace conditions. This decision can lead to preventable accidents and fatalities.
Common oil and gas industry accidents in Texas
Some of the most common oil and gas accidents on oil refineries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents. The leading cause of oil and gas fatalities are motor vehicle accidents. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are responsible for 40% of the oil and gas industry’s fatalities. Workers can become seriously injured while operating oilfield trucks with various chemicals. The oilfield trucks themselves can become defective from constantly being used, making an accident likely.
- Being struck by an object or equipment. Oilfield workers can easily find themselves in situations where they can become stuck or hit by large pieces of equipment. Because oilfield workers are required to work at different heights, another worker can drop a tool and seriously hurt another worker.
- Slip and fall accidents. Due to the weather and the equipment used to extract resources, it is common for workers to perform around wet surfaces. Working around wet, slippery surfaces and rushing to complete certain tasks can cause workers to slip and fall.
- Explosions and fires. Oilfield workers are often exposed to flammable items. Workers also perform certain tasks that require the use of heat, like welding. The combination of these with flammable materials can ignite an explosion or a fire.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals. Constant exposure to chemicals can cause workers to suffer from respiratory issues. Even the use of protective gear cannot prevent workers from the health consequences of these types of dangerous chemicals.
Who is liable for oil and gas industry accidents?
Even though there is danger associated with the oil and gas industry, all workers have legal protections. The oil industry is no exception. All employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment for all workers. Oilfield companies are required to satisfy this legal obligation by ensuring that all safety protocols are followed. When employers fail to follow these safety protocols in favor of profit, they deserve to be held liable for the workers’ injuries.
How tool manufacturers can be held liable for oil and gas accidents
Oil and gas companies are not the only parties whose negligence can cause an oil and gas accident. When defective tools and machines cause injuries or fatalities, the manufacturers can be held liable.
What can I do after an oil and gas industry accident?
When you or a loved one have been injured in an oil and gas accident, you may be eligible for legal action against the liable parties, including:
- Personal injury. Personal injury lawsuits are for victims who have been seriously injured at the expense of another party’s actions.
- Wrongful death. If you have lost a loved one from an oil and gas accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one.
- Worksite accidents. You can file a worksite accident claim when you have suffered serious, life-threatening injuries from your accident.
At Slack Davis Sanger, our Texas worksite injury lawyers are ready and willing to help you exercise your legal rights. We understand how devastating a worksite injury is for you and your family, and we want you to receive the compensation you deserve. To discuss your work injury rights, call us today at 800-455-8686 or submit our contact form. We maintain offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin.
The firm handles cases involving catastrophic personal injuries and deaths. Our work spans three decades of handling airplane and helicopter crashes, truck and car accidents, oilfield and construction accidents, and other devastating accidents. We try lawsuits throughout the country in both federal and state courts and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. To date, we have handled or tried cases in 47 states, read more about our attorneys and firm.