Improving Safety in the Oil & Gas Industry

an oilfield

Working in the oil and gas industry has been described as one of the “most dangerous jobs in America,” according to EHS Today. Why? Because the fatality rate in the oil and gas industry is seven times higher than all other industries in the United States.

Unfortunately, oil and gas companies routinely prioritize demand for production and profits over the safety and welfare of their employees. As a result, oil and gas safety regulations might be neglected, employees could become overworked or undertrained, there may be defective or misused equipment at a worksite, and workers could be exposed to harmful and deadly chemicals.

However your injury occurred, the oil and gas industry accident lawyers at Slack Davis Sanger stand ready to help. When you retain our team of experienced personal injury attorneys, we will go to work investigating the cause of your accident and work tirelessly to secure the financial restitution you are owed.

Most Common Types of Oil and Gas Industry Accidents

Some of the health and safety hazards that often lead to serious oil and gas industry accidents include the following:

  • Automobile Accidents – Many people are surprised to discover that highway vehicle accidents are the leading cause of oil and gas extraction worker deaths. For example, accident data indicates that around 4 out of every 10 oil and gas workers who lose their life on the job are killed in a highway vehicle accident.
  • Hit or Struck by Moving or Falling Objects – Another common type of accident that leads to loss of life in the oil and gas industry involves workers being struck or hit by equipment or objects at the worksite. These types of accidents might involve moving vehicles, moving equipment, falling equipment, and high-pressure lines. In addition, oil and gas workers are routinely near or around large cranes, derricks, hoists, and other heavy equipment that can wreak havoc if they fail or are mishandled.
  • Explosions and Fires – Oil and gas workers could suffer serious, life-altering injuries due to sudden explosions and fires. This is due to the presence of flammable gasses, such as well gasses, vapors, and hydrogen sulfide, at the worksite. These gasses could be released from wells, trucks, production equipment or surface equipment such as tanks and shale shakers.
  • Confined Spaces – Oil and gas workers are routinely required to operate within confined spaces such as mud pits, reserve pits, petroleum storage tanks, sand storage containers, and so forth. These confined spaces pose serious safety risks, including the sudden ignition of flammable vapors or gasses. These confined spaces also present the risk of a worker suffering asphyxiation and exposure to hazardous chemicals (more in this issue below).
  • Exposure to Toxic Chemicals – There is a risk that oil and gas workers could be exposed to extremely dangerous and toxic chemicals during the extraction, transport, and processing of oil and gas. For example, workers are at risk of being exposed to benzene, a known carcinogen, in addition to ethane, propane, and butane.
  • Electrical Hazards – Oil and gas workers are at risk of being exposed to uncontrolled electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic wiring and electrical currents. The risk of suffering a debilitating injury is exponentially higher when this type of equipment is not designed, installed, and/or maintained properly by employers.

Oil and Gas Safety Issues Lead to Troubling Injury Statistics

According to an oil and gas safety report published by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), approximately 20 workers in the oil and gas industry lost their lives in work-related incidents in 2021. This is a notable increase from 14 worker deaths in 2020. If that was not bad enough, the total recordable injury rate increased by 10 percent in 2021 when compared to the injury rate in 2020.

Oil and Gas Safety Regulations Currently in Place

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for promulgating oil field safety regulations, petroleum safety regulations, gas plant safety rules, and safety regulations for the larger oil and gas industry.

The oil and gas safety requirements that employers must implement to protect workers include the following:

  • Mandatory minimum training requirements
  • Supervising oil and gas workers
  • Mandatory minimum safety standards for all gas and oil equipment and machinery
  • Routine cleaning and maintenance requirements for all equipment
  • Proper labeling of hazardous substances
  • Loose or flammable clothing, jewelry that can be snagged, and loose hair prohibited
  • Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including hearing and respiratory protection. In addition, providing hard hats, safety-toe footwear, and eye protection to workers.
  • Ensuring there are CPR-trained individuals and first aid kits available at all oil and gas worksites
  • Emergency eye and body wash stations
  • Immediate accident and injury reporting and treatment
  • Allowing accident investigations to be conducted

Oil and Gas Worker Injury Claims

If you suffer a serious injury while working in the oil and gas industry, you may be entitled to financial restitution for your harms and losses. Financial restitution may be pursued through a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury claim, depending on the unique facts of your particular case.

One of the best ways to properly assess your legal options is to speak to an experienced oil and gas injury lawyer. If your attorney recommends filing a personal injury claim, you may be able to pursue compensation for the following harms and losses:

  • Medical bills (for both immediate and long-term care)
  • Lost income
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Reduced quality of life

If You Suffered an Oil or Gas Field Injury, Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a family member suffer a serious injury while working in the oil or gas industry, Slack Davis Sanger is ready and able to answer the call. Our legal team has proudly served the good people of Texas for close to four decades, representing them in claims against local, national, and global entities, including entities in the oil and gas industry.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do to help you, schedule a free case evaluation at one of our offices in Austin, Dallas, or Fort Worth. Call us at 800-455-8686 or fill out a quick contact form.