It’s an undeniable fact: oil and gas jobs are dangerous. In 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 4,000 oil and gas employees were injured on the job. Additionally, in 2008, Texas saw the most worker fatalities in this industry out of all 50 states. Undoubtedly, many of these accidents and oil field injuries could have been prevented.
How Accidents Happen
There are an endless number of hazards and risks in the oil and gas environment: heavy machinery, high-powered equipment, toxic chemicals, flammable materials – the list goes on and on. In order for employers and workers to be able to address and steer clear of these hazards, it’s important to know exactly what causes these accidents to occur.
Many oil field injuries and accidents happen because of:
- Poorly maintained equipment or tools
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Defective equipment, machinery, or tools
- Chemical fumes and exposure
- Inadequate or nonexistent safeguards and safety systems
- Tank explosions
- Well blowouts
- Falling objects
- Getting stuck between heavy machinery
- Rig collapse
- Transportation incidents involving oil field vehicles or trucks
Being aware of the ways oil and gas accidents occur can help workers and employers be more cognizant of the hazards and risks that surround them, so they can work to avoid, manage, and minimize them.
To help prevent oil field injuries and accidents from occurring in the workplace, workers and employers should take safety seriously and be proactive in making sure the work environment is as hazard-free as possible.
Some helpful accident prevention tips include:
- Always wear a self-contained respirator in areas when chemical levels are high.
- Abide by all workplace procedures and protocols.
- Report any incidents to your employer immediately. This helps prevent other workers from being hurt in the same manner.
- Always wear recommended protective equipment, including eye masks, helmets, boots, and gloves.
- Ensure all colleagues and coworkers are properly trained.
- Never operate machinery or equipment that you aren’t trained for. Ask for help if you need it.
- Be sure to put away all tools, debris, and other items after using them. This prevents them from causing nearby workers to slip or fall.
- Regularly inspect the workplace, as well as any contained machinery and equipment, to ensure it’s in working order and being properly maintained.
While these prevention tips can help ensure workplace safety, they are not exhaustive. It’s important for workers and employers to create their own safety protocols and policies that specifically address their on-site hazards, risks, and processes.
In addition to the worker- and employer-enforced safety precautions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration also has a number of safety guidelines designed specifically for the oil and gas industry. These address standards for wells, field exploration, walking surfaces, platforms, building maintenance, hazardous materials, machinery, fire protection, and a variety of other issues and concerns specific to the oil and gas industry.
Any worker who sees a hazard in the workplace is encouraged to report it to their local OSHA office immediately. OSHA will send a representative to evaluate the hazard and, if necessary, they will issue a citation to the employer or company, demanding it be fixed within a certain number of days. This helps ensure the problem is addressed and, most importantly, that it cannot cause harm to any employees or workers at the workplace.
Getting Help for Oil Field Injuries
Did you or someone you know suffer oil field injuries while on the job? You could be due compensation for the injuries and damages you’ve suffered. Contact a workplace attorney at the Law Offices of Pat Maloney today to see if you have grounds for a claim.