Oklahoma, like every state, has a workers’ compensation program in place for employees who are hurt on the job. When you work in the oil and gas industry, the chances are good that you may need to apply for those benefits at some point; it is, after all, one of the most dangerous industries to work in. In particular, the men and women who work on the drilling rigs face serious injuries if the machinery is not maintained and inspected, or if they are not given the proper safety equipment.
But what about people who are not employees of a particular oil company? Contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation; neither are site visitors nor, in some cases, workers from other companies who may be collaborating on site. In these cases, an injury victim can file a third party personal injury lawsuit to recover damages, which would help with day-to-day living expenses, cover medical bills, and compensate the worker for pain and suffering.
Common injuries sustained by drilling rig operators
The most common types of injuries – falls, being hit with objects, being crushed by on-site vehicles – can lead to long-term injury for any worker. But here are certain types of injuries or illnesses that are unique to oil and gas workers in Oklahoma, simply because of the work they do:
- Toxic exposure and inhalation. Gas, petroleum, oil, sulfur pockets, chemicals used in production: you name it, and Oklahoma drillers have been exposed to it. Inhaling noxious gases can lead to disabling injuries. They ca also make a worker lightheaded or dizzy, leading to an increased chance of a trip or fall.
- Drilling rig operators do their jobs among some of the world’s most flammable materials and chemicals – and the pieces of those rigs can get very, very hot. Oil field fires and explosions pose serious risks.
- Loss of limb. An explosion or a crushing-injury can cost an oil driller his or her arms or legs. Oklahoma oil field workers can easily lose a limb if something goes wrong, or if safety equipment fails.
- Wrongful death. The new sis filled with stories about oil field workers who have given their lives for their jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that “Fatal work injuries in the private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector were 17 percent higher in 2014,” with a rate of 14.1 deaths per every 100,000 workers around the country.
If you work in the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma, and you sustain a life-altering injury or develop a terminal illness as a result of your work, there are options available to you to help you protect your family while you cannot work.
At the Stipe Law Firm, we explore those options with you. Our talented team of Oklahoma oil field injury attorneys can walk you through your options, and offers you honest, practical advice based on your needs. To find out why generations of Oklahoma oil field workers have turned to us in times of need, please call (918) 505-7741 or fill out our contact form. If you are too sick or injured to come to our office in McAlester, we can come to you instead.