The oil and gas industry is a massive source of income for the United States,
as it has made over 100 million dollars in revenue annually over the past
six years. While the industry produces what some have called “liquid
gold,” the very nature of its existence is due in large part to
oilfield workers. These employees are some of the hardest working individuals
in the U.S. labor force; but unfortunately, their work often goes unnoticed
by other Americans. In fact, many people are entirely unaware that this
job is one of the most dangerous in the States. To combat this lack of
knowledge (and to help oilfield workers stay safe), The Law Offices of
George P. Escobedo & Associates would like to share the five most
common causes of oilfield accidents.
Slips & Falls
Slips and falls are one of the most common workplace accidents around the
world, but working with oil increases the risk of suffering a slip and
fall-related injury. Oil is such a significant slip-hazard because its
molecules slide on top of one another with little to no friction. As a
result, oil is typically runny and slippery no matter what surface it’s
on. Dirt, concrete, grass, and other terrain can fail to make oil spills
a non-slipping hazard.
To make matters worse, many employers are unaware of the potential severity
of slip and fall accidents. People fall all the time, which makes slip
and fall accidents seem like a regular part of everyday life. This leads
employers to believe that tripping hazards are small problems that are
rarely considered non-compliant with OSHA standards. Unfortunately, this
can result in employers purposefully overlooking slip and fall hazards
because cleaning up the spill may result in a loss of profit. As many
business owners would agree, “Time is money,” and taking the
time to clean up a contained oil spill may be seen as a waste of resources.
For the above-mentioned reasons, slip and fall accidents will continue
to plague oilfield workers for many years to come.
The machines used to drill, pull, and store oil are typically sophisticated
pieces of equipment that contain hundreds of tiny parts. For oil workers
to accomplish their goals, these parts must seamlessly work together to
harness the oil found below the earth’s surface. Although oil workers
do their best to stay safe while handling and using these machines, old
machine parts can deteriorate and cause accidental ignitions. In fact, one
news article from 2017 details how there were more than a dozen fires and explosions
that occurred at Colorado oil and gas facilities over an eight-month period.
Therefore, it stands to reason that fires and explosions are some of the
most dangerous accidents in the oil industry.
Prevent accidental ignitions in oilfield jobs by:
- Looking for signs of deterioration in your equipment.
- Informing managers of improper machine use
- Staying in line with safety procedures
Oil & Gas Truck Accidents
Transporting oil from oilfields is no small feat, and there are often numerous
vehicles that work near rigs to get the job done. Oilfield workers are
often busy with their given tasks, and cannot worry about the vehicles
that are regularly coming and going from the premises. Therefore, oilfield
truck drivers must take extra precautions when traveling near demanding
operations. Unfortunately, not all drivers are as cautious as they should
be, which can result in workers getting struck by work vehicles. To combat
this common occurrence, employers should propely mark trucks with the
appropriate flags and drivers should follow proper oilfield etiquette
when coming in to help an operation.
Oilfield workers are often required to wear helmets when they are anywhere
near the source of the operation. Helmets are such an integral part of
an oilfield workers outfit because oil rigs can cause falling equipment.
When oilfield workers are continually pulling poles in and out of the
system, a loose part can become a hazard in a matter of seconds. Additionally,
oil rig failure can throw various mechanical pieces into the air at high
speeds. Therefore, workers should always keep their helmets on to prevent
severe head injuries.
Failure to Follow Shutdown Protocols
Blowouts, toppled rigs, and cable failures can all result in catastrophic
injuries. When rigs are defective, employers should shut down operations
and take losses. Unfortunately, not every employer will shut down an operation
when a defect is brought to their attention. This may result in an entirely
avoidable catastrophic accident had the manager or employer shut down
the operation and followed proper safety procedures. If you see a manager
making the wrong call in regards to stopping an operation due to a safety
hazard, you should always put your safety first and refuse to work. Its
better to stay safe and be reprimanded than it is to be caught in an explosion.
If you have been injured in an oilfield accident, you may be eligible to
receive compensation for your wounds. At the Law Offices of George P.
Escobedo & Associates, our goal is to pursue justice for hardworking
oilfield workers who are injured by no fault of their own. If you would
like to contact us, follow
this link to schedule a free consultation.