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Oil Field Accidents Caused by Defective Equipment


Oil and gas extraction is dangerous work. Employers are responsible for training employees to do their work safely, for maintaining their equipment, and for managing the materials that workers are in contact with each day. Being aware of the hazards and training workers to avoid them helps reduce the number of injuries and fatalities an oil field may see each year.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has created rules and regulations designed to safeguard the health and safety of oil and gas extraction workers in the field. These safety guides for employers help them to recognize and control machine hazards, which include workers getting crushed or drawn into equipment, struck by moving parts, or struck by failed components or particles.

Causes and effects of oilfield equipment malfunction

There are many causes of oilfield equipment failures, including:

  • Improper use of the equipment
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Infrequent safety inspections
  • Corrosion
  • Metal fatigue
  • Defective design
  • Manufacturing defect
  • Inadequate training

If the failure or malfunction was caused by a defect, as opposed to neglect, it may be possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.

Injuries to oilfield workers can be serious and even deadly. Workers can be struck in the head, knocked off rigs, and sustain injuries so severe they lose a limb. These types of injuries are generally categorized as catastrophic injuries, because the results are life-altering – and more often than not, they are permanent.

Tips for preventing injury around heavy oilfield equipment from OSHA

OSHA provides the following tips to keep oil and gas workers safe around heavy equipment:

  • Know the hazards
  • Establish ways to protect workers
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Communicate the hazards
  • Train workers
  • Have a plan for contractor safety and training

Liability for oilfield accidents caused by equipment failure

Because of the inherent danger in the industry, oil companies must adhere to strict safety regulations designed to protect workers’ health and safety and to prevent workers from having to put their lives on the line to earn a living. Workers have a right to safe working conditions. When employers do not uphold their obligations to their employees by maintaining a safe work environment and preventing injuries from equipment failure and their employees suffer injuries as a result, the employer may face serious fines and other consequences. Injured workers in Oklahoma have access to workers’ compensation benefits, that cover their medical expenses and provide a partial wage-loss benefit for the time an injured worker loses on the job. But when a worker’s injury was a result of an equipment failure caused by defective or negligently maintained equipment, the worker may have a cause of action aside from workers’ compensation.

Your Oklahoma oilfield accident lawyer from Stipe Law Firm understands the complexities of third-party product liability lawsuits. We hold those responsible for your injuries accountable for your losses. If you have been injured in an oilfield accident, or another type of workplace accident, you are encouraged to call (918) 505-7741 or fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation.