A third oilfield worker has died after succumbing to injuries sustained while working at the Chesapeake Energy’s oilfield site northwest of Houston in the Eagle Ford Shale. The worker was among several involved in a second explosion at the jobsite within two weeks. Workers were attempting to upgrade a well when a surge of natural gas ignited. While the tank the workers were servicing was not active, it became over-pressurized, leading led to the blast.
Post accident investigation is crucial in determining the cause of oilfield accidents, so that the industry can better prepare for the future.
Oilfield workers are notoriously hard workers with the grit it takes to perform in the energy industry. While it is widely known that oil and gas is a demanding field, it does not excuse preventable accidents that seriously injure workers. The use of heavy equipment and machinery requires workers to be in close contact with moving parts with the potential to inflict catastrophic injuries. In addition to the dangers posed by these machines, the materials themselves are hazardous and can catch fire and/or explode.
Oil and gas companies can protect employees through routine training on explosions and fires. Tragic incidents can be prevented when companies invest in worker and jobsite safety. Common causes of oilfield accidents include:
- Failure to routinely inspect equipment
- Failure to perform routine maintenance on active and non-active equipment
- Failure to clean chemicals
- Failure to provide safety guarding such as toe-boards and guardrails around heavy equipment and machinery
- Failure to contain hazardous chemicals and gases (causing them to leak)
- Blowouts during drilling
Common Oilfield Injuries
Just as the workload tends to be demanding on oilfields, the injuries associated with accidents are also more dangerous. Due to complex equipment, hazardous chemicals and gases, and heavy machinery, workplace injuries are often catastrophic. Some of the most common injuries sustained in oilfield work include:
- Amputations, most commonly of fingers and hands
- Fractures and broken bones, with legs being the most commonly injured
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Deep cuts and lacerations
Any one of these injuries could end a person’s life in an instant; if an injured oilfield worker is fortunate enough to survive a workplace accident, they could deal with complications from their injuries for the rest of their life. Companies must take all necessary steps to protect workers instead of focusing on maximizing profits in shorter timeframes.
Oilfield Accident Attorneys
All employees deserve a safe work environment free of immediate dangers, regardless of the line of work they perform or industry they serve. Oil and gas companies have mishandled oilfield worker safety for far too long; workers should not have to suffer life-altering injuries or be killed for the profits of their employer. When companies fail to follow federal and state guidelines regarding employee safety, they are breaking the law and putting workers’ lives at risk. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in an oilfield accident, contact us today for a free consultation.