Between the lucrative pay and free training, jobs in the oil and gas industry are commonplace here in Texas. Unfortunately, this line of work is also extremely dangerous — as evidenced by the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010, which killed 11 and injured 17 more. While explosions like this one are rare, smaller explosions and incidents occur regularly in the drilling industry.
If you or someone you know or love works in the drilling industry, it’s important to know the risks involved. Keep reading to learn about the most common oil rig injuries, their causes, and the primary issues involved, as well as how working with an experienced injury attorney can help if you or a loved one has been injured on the job.
Common Injuries Suffered By Oil Rig Workers
Working on an oil rig is a high-stress, high-risk occupation with the potential to cause employees serious and lasting harm. Some of the most common injuries workers suffer from include:
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Punctures and lacerations
- Fire and chemical burns
- Hearing and vision loss
- Respiratory issues
“Oil rigs contain a lot of complicated and dangerous equipment. Equipment malfunctions and improper safety practices are other top causes of accidents on oil rigs.”
Top Causes of Oil Rig Injuries
While explosions and fires cause many injuries and fatalities on oil rigs, transportation and equipment accidents are actually more common. We explain each of these three causes in further detail below.
Commuting and Transportation Incidents
Getting to and from an oil rig can be a complicated process involving multiple forms of transportation. The helicopters and boats used to transport workers from land to rig are often prone to mechanical failures.
Additionally, after working 12- to 24-hour shifts, some workers have to commute back to their lodgings in trucks, despite being exhausted. These long and frequent commutes are highly dangerous, and falling asleep at the wheel is common.
Poor Safety Practices and Falling Objects
Oil rigs contain a lot of complicated and dangerous equipment. Equipment malfunctions and improper safety practices are other top causes of accidents on oil rigs.
Due to their location in and near the water, oil rigs also pose a significant danger of falling or causing massive objects to shift. And while hard hats should be worn at all times, sometimes even these essential safety features won’t prevent a worker from suffering a traumatic brain injury or broken bone.
In one recent case, a 30-year-old man was working on a Texas oil rig when he was struck and fatally injured due to a drilling equipment malfunction. At the time of the injury, his wife was pregnant with their first child and he was the sole provider of the family. Crosley Law represented his widow and new baby, and negotiated a confidential multi-million-dollar settlement that will provide financial stability for his wife and child for many years to come.
Oil Rig Explosions and Fires
With their potentially devastating injuries, fatalities, and environmental impacts, oil rig explosions and chemical fires are the most well-known rig hazards.
RELATED ARTICLE: Learn How to Protect Yourself on West Texas’ “Highway of Death”
Risk Factors of Working on an Oil Rig
Several risk factors increase the possibility of oil rig incidents, injuries, and fatalities, including:
Many oil and gas rig employees work 12-hour shifts and spend 7-14 days on the rig at a time. Long hours in a high-stress environment can cause serious fatigue, which affects their judgment and reflexes, putting them at increased risk of injury.
Oil rigs are often isolated and far from any medical help in the event of an incident. The different sections on oil rigs can also be isolated, and it can be difficult to hear your coworkers warning you about potential problems or alert you to injuries they’ve suffered over the loud machinery.
Negligent Hiring and Training
When drilling activity ramps up, many companies hire employees with no experience and push them through training too quickly to put them to work sooner. These unprepared employees can be a danger to themselves and others around them.
Dangerous Policies and Procedures
Some drilling companies cut costs and time by shirking their responsibilities to their employees and by using non-standard drilling methods. The drilling industry is highly regulated to help avoid safety hazards, but if companies practice unsafe procedures or encourage employees to work extra hours off the books, they are putting everyone at risk.
Call Crosley Law If You’ve Been Injured in an Oil Rig Incident
If you’ve been injured in an oil rig accident, the experienced attorneys at Crosley Law are here to help. Our firm has handled dozens of oil and drilling injury claims — including workplace incidents and catastrophic injuries. We manage every aspect of our clients’ claims and strive to get them the compensation they deserve.
Contact us today by completing this brief form or by calling 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about how Crosley Law can help you with your personal injury or workers’ compensation claim.
Blum, J. (2018, January 23). Oklahoma drilling rig explosion deadliest in years. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Oklahoma-drilling-rig-explosion-deadliest-in-years-12519984.php
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.