We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; oilfields are dangerous places, and we have the utmost respect for those who work in the industry day in and day out to provide for their families. Many are familiar with the risks these workers face every day, but an investigation by News 9 and the Frontier highlights some dangers that don’t get the attention they deserve.
Oilfield accidents by the numbers
The US Occupational Safety & Health Administration says that the fatality rate for oil and gas extraction workers is seven times the rate of all US industries. Oklahoma is second in the nation in recorded fatalities; only Texas reported a larger number of deaths in the industry. According to the Petro Global News, the joint investigation found:
- At least 36 people died in crashes in OK involving trucks carrying wastewater and oilfield equipment between 2007 and 2013.
- Some 54 people have injured in OK truck accidents between 2013 and 2015.
- About 7% of truck companies licensed in OK to haul wastewater and oilfield equipment suffered lethal accidents.
- Seven of 24 companies involved in deadly crashes have the lowest safety rating required to operate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Big trucks are a risk in and of themselves. Their massive size means that big trucks are unable to maneuver well, and poor sightlines make accidents all the more likely, especially on a busy oilfield. Worse, companies often overload trucks to increase efficiency. Load limits are in place for a reason; they represent the maximum capacity that a truck can carry and still go, stop and turn safely.
Companies put profits ahead of safety
It doesn’t help that trucking companies feel that they are above the law. Overloading trucks is extremely dangerous, especially when cost-cutting measures mean that some trucks are barely drivable. Additionally, the investigation found that some companies failed to investigate accidents properly, ignoring a Federal requirement to test drivers for drugs and alcohol following a crash.
We understand the dangers that come with working in the industry, and we work hard to protect oilfield workers when an accident happens. When that accident is a result of negligence, we make sure that justice is served, and victims and their families get the compensation they deserve. If your loved one has been injured or killed on an oilfield or in a commercial truck accident, the experienced Oklahoma oil service truck accident lawyers at Stipe Law Firm can evaluate your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Visit our office in McAlester or contact us today for a free consultation.
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