There is no doubt that the oil and gas industry is good business, both for the company and the individual worker. Still, as good as it is for people’s pockets, it remains extremely dangerous work.
Despite the many federal and state laws that regulate the industry, the Houston oilfield accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns continue to see Texas oilfield workers hurt on the job. Many times these injuries are of a severe nature, and often, are fatal.
Texas has one of the highest instances of both severe and fatal injuries, due largely to the oil and gas industry boom that the state has experienced in recent years. The frequency of these incidents warrants a closer look at some of the most common oil field injuries and the causes behind them.
What Causes Oil Field Accidents
Some of the reasons oil field workers are injured on the job mirror those found in other types of work, including:
- Insufficient training– Many times, new hires are not properly prepared for the work ahead and some positions do not even require any previous training or experience. Companies might also rush through the on-the-job training that is offered. Regardless of the circumstances, a lack of training or hurried training can result in workers not knowing how to properly handle dangerous situations or equipment including machinery or chemicals.
- Lack of supervision – The boom in the oil and gas industry has increased the demand for capable employees and sometimes there aren’t enough on a job site. When that happens, the on-site workforce can be stretched thin and harder to oversee. If workers can’t be properly supervised, this increases the chances that something goes wrong.
- Faulty equipment – As with most jobs, not having the right equipment or working with some that are poorly-maintained will not only hinder you, but also place you in harm’s way.
The one cause behind oil field accidents in Texas that seems to come up more often than others is fatigue. Employees can work a whole week straight of 12-hour shifts (sometimes more) and may rotate between day and night shifts. Additionally, some workers might be on-call and have to report back to work right after they have finished a long day.
These constant changes, combined with the long hours and unpredictable nature of their schedule, can lead to extreme fatigue and multiply the likelihood of accidents.
Typical Oilfield Accident Injuries
The everyday work oil field employees handle is not only dangerous because of potential issues with equipment and chemicals, but is also physically challenging. These factors together require the vigilance of everyone on a job site.
Below are some of the most common injuries caused by oilfield accidents:
- Back/neck injuries – Lifting the heavy tools and items that are common at a job site require proper technique. Slippery work conditions caused by weather and chemical spills are also very common and can place workers in jeopardy of a back injury. Extreme situations, like explosions, can be particularly harmful.
- Head injuries – There are many different ways that a worker can suffer a head injury in the oil field. Concussions, facial lacerations, and injuries to the brain are all within the realm of possibility. These injuries can cause workers to miss days in the short term and potentially cause long-term issues, like problems with memory. In the worst of cases, a head injury can leave a worker unable to care for themselves – or even be fatal.
- Eye injuries– Chemicals and their fumes can damage eyes, resulting in vision issues that could be permanent. The debris that swirls around can also cause injuries to an employee’s eyes, in the form of cuts and scrapes. These can lead to infections if not properly treated, which come with their own risks.
No matter what angle you choose to view the work these employees face, there is always something that threatens their physical well-being. While most accept these positions knowing this, that knowledge does not minimize the danger.
At Lapeze & Johns, we know what oil field workers face every day and know that an accident, even when not fatal, is not usually something that is followed by a quick recovery.
If you have been injured in an oil field accident, contact the Texas oilfield accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns today.
No matter the circumstances of how you were hurt, our experienced legal team will ensure that you will be taken care of and that the negligent parties are held responsible for your injuries.