There’s no doubt that oil and gas workers have some of the most dangerous and potentially deadly jobs there are. Not only do you work with toxic chemicals every day, but given the amount of earthquakes we’ve been having – more than 5,000 in 2015 – you and your fellow workers are at an increased risk of sustaining an injury.
So what are some of the more common accidents and injuries sustained by Oklahoma oil field workers? They include:
- Injuries caused by defective machinery. A design flaw or manufacturing defect can cause derricks and rigs to break, or to fail to work in the intended way. If the pulley system snaps, a worker can be crushed under the weight of the falling load, or suffer a permanent injury (like the loss of a limb) if their safety precautions fail.
- Burns and electric shocks. Any time you have a live power line, there is the risk of a burn or a shock. The caustic chemicals used in the industry can also cause a chemical burn or create a corrosive spray if they cannot be contained.
- Injuries caused by construction vehicles. Crane collapses, forklift tips, HAZMAT truck collisions – where there are motor vehicles and construction vehicles, there are opportunities to be injured.
- Permanent health conditions caused by toxic exposure. Whether you work right out in the field or in the refineries that turn crude into petroleum, you are exposed to dangerous and toxic environments. Over the years, those toxins can lead to debilitating health conditions. Back in May of 2015, one Oklahoma worker died from inhaling the fumes around the crude production tanks.
- Hearing loss. Oil fields are noisy places. If you work with drills for years, the chances are good that you may sustain permanent hearing loss, even at a very young age.
- Injuries sustained while disposing of waste water. Stanford University has linked waste water disposal through fracking with an increase in Oklahoma’s number of earthquakes, which makes this part of the job doubly dangerous. Not only do you risk being injured in the course of injecting the water back into the ground, but you might also be injured if a quake is large enough to topple equipment, or causes a sinkhole of some kind.
The most tragic accidents, of course, are the ones which lead to the unexpected death of an oil field worker. For the surviving family members, trying to manage their grief while paying for funeral costs or medical bills can be completely overwhelming.
The Oklahoma personal injury lawyers of Stipe Law Firm can help you file a wrongful death suit if your family member was killed while working in the oil fields, or help you navigate the claims process if you or your loved one sustained an injury. We invite you to contact us with your questions, and to make an appointment at our office in McAlester. We’ve spent the last 60 years helping Southeast Oklahomans get the help they need, so they can continue to provide for their families. We want to help you, too.