Major Types of Oilfield Accidents and Injuries
The oil industry is extremely important to the Texas economy. Unfortunately, these jobs can also be extremely dangerous. When it comes to serious and fatal injuries, the oil and gas industry is the most dangerous in the country. Because the production process encompasses everything from drilling to refining or processing to transporting the final product, along with storage and disposal of waste, having strict safety measures in place is critical. Even with these preventative measures, accidents still occur, often with fatal consequences.
Common Types of Oilfield Accidents
- Oil transportation accident – Oil is transported from place to place by vessels, trains, trucks, and more. Due to the volatile nature of oil and gas products, if one of these methods of transportation fails, such as with a crude oil train derailment or a workplace truck accident, the results can quickly turn deadly.
- Explosion and fire – Explosions are one of the most common oilfield accidents, and they are many times fatal. When they cause serious injuries, the accident victims often require lifetime medical care, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
- Chemical leak or release – Many of the substances used in refining oil and gas products contain dangerous chemicals. If those chemicals are not stored properly, it can lead to acid or chemical burns.
- Pipeline rupture – When a pipeline ruptures, thousands of barrels of oil may be released directly into the area where the rupture occurred. When a gas line ruptures, the risk of fire only increases. The injuries from pipeline explosions can be catastrophic.
- Gas leak – There are three grades of gas leaks: grade 1 leaks require immediate action; grade 2 leaks are non-hazardous but they should be repaired as soon as possible; and grade 3 leaks are the least troublesome. Regardless of the rating, any gas leak can cause symptoms in workers exposed to the toxic fumes.
- Oil spill – Oil spills can have extreme health, economic, and environmental effects, and can impact employees, residents, and businesses in the nearby area – sometimes for years or decades after the initial spill.
- Crane failure – Cranes are a common sight along the Gulf Coast, where they are used everyday in oilfields, refineries, and elsewhere. These huge pieces of machinery injure and kill Texas workers every year.
- Fracking accidents – Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has produced billions of dollars in revenue for Texas oil companies. But fracking, which involves the high-pressure injection of water or a fluid mixture into a borehole to create cracks in deep-rock formations through which gas or petroleum can flow, is inherently dangerous for those performing the task.
- Defective equipment – The oil and gas industry requires the use of heavy machinery and complex equipment. In order for this equipment to perform at its best, routine maintenance is required to ensure its quality and safety. Any instance of defective, damaged, or otherwise sub-standard performing equipment can have deadly consequences for those operating the machines.
Oilfield injuries and even deaths are not uncommon. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas accounts for 40% of all oil field related fatalities in the country. Oilfield workers have some of the most dangerous and stressful jobs in the United States. The potential hazards an oilfield worker faces during the course of a routine day on the job are significant.
The following injuries repeatedly occur as a result of the dangerous working conditions in the energy industry:
- Bone, limb, and extremity injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Toxic exposure
Oilfield Accident Attorney
Workers injured in oilfield accidents are entitled to compensation for their damages. A worker can file a claim for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, permanent injuries, diminished work capacity, and more. With Texas having the most oilfield accident fatalities in the nation, it is imperative to get an attorney who knows the law and can help your family. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an oilfield accident, you have a limited time to act. Contact us immediately so we can help.