Working in the oilfield can be extremely rewarding and financially lucrative. However, it’s also dangerous work. Although the oil and gas industry is highly regulated by federal and Texas state laws to make the oilfield as safe as it can be, oilfield workers are often hurt. Sadly, oil field accidents can be fatal or extremely serious in nature. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas had the most fatal oil field injuries (40% fatality). That was an increase of 21% over a five year period.
Most Common Causes of Texas Oil Field Accidents
Even with safety training, an environment with heavy and complicated equipment can create serious hazards for workers. Here are the five most common causes of Texas oil field accidents:
- Improper supervision. Oil fields are busy places. Sometimes, they can be understaffed. When there is improper supervision of oil field workers, accidents are more likely to happen.
- Improper training. Even with the existence of roughneck and drilling schools, improper training may still occur. Some job sites hire workers who have no training or experience. This increases the likelihood that the worker will get hurt. Where on the job training is offered, the training may be rushed because the oil field is a busy place. Workers may not receive proper training or continued training. This isn’t just about a short course of safety measures. It’s about ensuring that workers know how to properly handle chemicals and operate machinery in the safest possible ways.
- Fatigue. Oil field crews may work seven days of 12-hour shifts and then switch to seven nights of a 12-hour shift. Oil fields are a 24 hour operation. Some oil field workers are on call and may be called in to work at any time even if they’ve just finished working a long shift. Fatigue makes accidents more likely to happen.
- Improperly maintained equipment. When oil field equipment hasn’t had scheduled maintenance or when small problems can “wait,” oil field workers are in danger of a serious injury.
- Safety policies aren’t enforced. Safety policies put in place by oil and gas companies are meant to help workers stay safe. Yet, in a busy oil field environment, they’re often forgotten or pushed aside because those guidelines may mean tasks take a little longer. When safety policies aren’t enforced, the risk of oil field injuries skyrockets.
Common Texas Oil Field Injuries
Texas oil fields are dangerous places. Many of the injuries that happen on the oil field could be avoided simply by oil and gas companies maintaining equipment, enforcing safety policies, proper supervision, and proper training.
- Head injuries. Concussions, skull fractures, severe facial lacerations, and traumatic brain injuries can change your life. Head injuries can take a person away from their job for a few days or it can kill. A mild brain injury can cause you experience issues with your memory for the rest of your life. A traumatic brain injury can leave you with permanent neurological damage that makes it impossible for you to work or even take care of yourself.
- Burns. The equipment used on an oil field can become extremely hot. Steam, electrical shocks, hot water, and the use of chemicals can all create burns. Many burns can lead to permanent disfigurement. Some people develop infections or lose limbs.
- Back and neck injuries. Back and neck injuries are common in any work environment. However, oil fields are demanding places that require workers to lift heavy items. Workers are also at risk of losing their footing or having heavy equipment fall on them. An explosion on the oil field can also cause severe back and neck injuries.
- Injuries to the eye. Blowing debris can scratch your cornea and that can cause pain and decrease your vision. This can also lead to an eye infection that results in permanent vision loss. The use of chemicals can also injure your eyes. Fumes or being splashed with a hazardous chemical can result in permanent vision loss.
Hurt While Working on a Texas Oil Field?
If you were hurt while working on a Texas oil field, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, future treatment, surgeries, loss of wages, and for disability. Injured workers should look for a Texas oil field injuries lawyer. A Texas oil field injuries lawyer understands the complex federal and Texas state laws that regulate the oil and gas industry. An attorney can help protect your legal rights.