Common Types and Causes of Oil Field Accidents

Oil and gas workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the country. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 4.2 percent of all oil and gas workers are hurt on the job each year. A great many of these incidents involve an oil rig accident, suffered off-shore on the decks or in the wells of a drilling operation. To help workers become more aware of the dangers and hazards associated with their job, we’ve put together this helpful guide, noting common types and causes of oil field accidents, so these can be avoided and prevented.

Common Types of Oil Field Accident

There are a number of types and kinds of oil rig injuries that can be suffered on the job. Some are due to negligence or error on the part of employers or coworkers, while others are simply a hazard of the oil and gas industry.

Common types of oil field accident include:

  • Burns – Because of the extremely flammable nature of oil, gas, and other chemicals present at rigs, fires and explosions are not uncommon. When great pressure builds up, it can easily cause an explosion, create a spark, and inflict painful burns and scarring on workers in the area. Burns can also occur from touching toxic chemicals and substances.
  • Brain and head injuries – Oil rig workers often find themselves very high off the ground. Falls from these heights can cause head, brain, and spinal cord injuries that can lead to permanent damage and even paralysis. Workers also often suffer these injuries because falling equipment or tools strike them, or they suffer a slip or fall on slippery decks or surfaces on the ring itself.
  • Exposure to toxic fumes – Rigs are home to many toxic and volatile chemicals and substances. Prolonged exposure to the fumes of these substances can cause respiratory problems, brain damage, and other health conditions in workers.
  • Amputations – Very heavy machinery and tools are used in the oil and gas workplace. If these are used incorrectly, dropped, or crush a person, they can easily cut off legs, arms, and other body parts in the process.

While not an oil field accident per se, death is also an on-the-job risk for oil and gas workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 120 workers died in the industry in 2008 alone. Most of these fatalities occurred because of transportation accidents, contact with heavy objects or equipment, or due to on-site fires and explosions.

Common Causes of Oil Field Accidents

An oil field accident can stem from a number of on-the-job hazards and risks. Many of these are preventable and avoidable with the right safety policies and practices.

Just a few of the common causes of oil field accident include:

  • Negligent or improperly trained workers on the rig
  • Improperly stored chemicals or substances
  • Gas leaks
  • High pressure in wells
  • Falling objects, tools, or debris
  • Cable or block breaks
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Faulty and poorly maintained grating, pipe tongs, and other types of equipment
  • Improperly used tools, machinery, or equipment
  • Combustible chemicals and substances
  • Explosions
  • Careless or reckless behavior by workers
  • Delayed equipment repair or maintenance
  • Poor communication on the rig

What to Do After an Oil Field Accident?

Were you the victim of an oil field accident? Was someone you love? Then you could be due compensation through workers’ compensation or have grounds for a legal claim against your employer, coworker, or third party who caused the incident. To get started on your claim or to learn more about oil field injuries, contact the Law Offices of Pat Maloney in San Antonio. Call (210) 934-6609 now!