The oil and gas extraction industry is an incredibly dangerous industry for its workers. The work is strenuous and dirty, it involves heavy machinery, potentially explosive gases, exposure to toxins and fast paced work tasks. This provides an environment that is full of hazards that could lead to injury and even death. There are many types of industries that can occur in the oilfields. Unfortunately, many of them go unreported in order to maintain the company’s safety record.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published a study on Occupational Exposures in the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry. The study mentions that the industry’s fatality rate is 2.5 times higher than the construction industry and 7 times higher than general industry. The reported injury rates are lower than the construction industry, which suggests that there are injuries that are happening but nor being reported. Working in the oil and gas extraction industry is at least as dangerous if not more so than the construction industry. The NIH report refers to occupational exposures to toxic substances such as crystalline silica and other particulates, benzene, high levels of noise and radiation. The purpose of the NIH study was to examine the hazards that existing the industry, characterize the risks, identify solutions and discover research gaps that exist so that the occupational health and safety issues in this growing industry can be addressed.
Workplace hazards faced by oil and gas employees
In such a dangerous industry, of course, there are any ways in which oil and gas workers can become injured. Here are a few of those:
- Auto accidents
One of the most significant hazards for oil and gas workers is not actually on an oil rig, but on the road. Large trucks play a big role in the daily work of oil workers. When workers must drive these heavy trucks, which are not always kept in perfect condition, for long hours after a long day of work, crashes can occur. According to OSHA, roughly four out of ten workers killed on the job in the oil industry are killed in a traffic crash.
Machine hazards for oil and gas workers involve operating heavy equipment which makes a lot of noise and vibrates, which can cause harm to workers. Other types of equipment create the opportunity for workers to get struck by or caught in between machine parts. Falling objects and equipment can cause serious harm if the proper safety precautions are not in place.
- Chemical exposure
Prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes can cause serious occupational diseases, cancers and death.
- Fall hazards
Falling from slipping on a slippery surface, falling from heights such as ladders and platforms exist everywhere in an oil and gas worker’s work environment. Safety precautions such as harnesses and guardrails must be in place to guard against needless accidents and injuries.
- Explosions and fires
Fires are a given when working around flammable materials, Employers must make sure that there are adequate fire extinguishers around and that all employees have fire safety training and a plan to follow when a fire occurs.
If an oil and gas worker suffers an injury from any of these hazards during the course of their daily work tasks, they may be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which include a partial wage-replacement disability payment, coverage for all medical expenses related to the accident, and payment for permanently disabling injuries.
A workers’ compensation attorney from the Stipe Law Firm can protect your right to the compensation you have earned in the event of a dispute with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer or the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission.
We are familiar with the dangers that come with working in this exciting industry, and we work hard to protect oilfield workers when an accident happens. If your loved one has been injured or killed on an oilfield or in a commercial truck accident, the experienced Oklahoma workers’ compensation lawyers at Stipe Law Firm can evaluate your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Visit our office in McAlester, call (918) 505-7741, or contact us today for a free consultation.