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Usual Causes of Oilfield Injuries

Oilfield workers are exposed to many types of dangers every time they go the drilling site, where heavy machinery abound, catwalks become very slippery, chains and cables can cause entanglement, and fires and explosions are common sights. Oil fields are dangerous places to work, and, according to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, they are subject to certain safety requirements to reduce the amount of injuries workers sustain.

Records from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that between 2002 and 2007, about 598 workers had fatal accidents, while close to 20,000 sustained injuries. Some of the most common oilfield injuries workers may suffer from include burn injuries, explosion injuries, head injuries, spinal injuries due to slips or falls, and injuries due to trucking, helicopter and aircraft accidents (as some oil rigs are built in the middle of an ocean).

There are different factors that lead to an increase in the rate of death and injury in oilfield sites, including:

  • Uncontrolled drug and alcohol abuse.  Many oilfield workers have resorted to using methamphetamine, to enable them to work for 12 hours straight, usually for 14 consecutive days. As the effect of the drug wears off, one will definitely not be able to shrug off the fatigue and exhaustion from the job.
  • Failure to comply with safety rules. It is a fact that the oilfield business detests safety rules and regulations, spending millions of dollars in the effort to reduce or do away with safety requirements and restrictions.
  • Inexperienced workforce. As the price of a barrel of oil has soared from $10 during the 80’s, to around a $100 today, even those with no experience hurry to oilfields to land a job; and employers are just as eager in hiring them, leaving them to learn the trade through performance of the actual job.
  • Striking increase in drilling. In 2002, there were about 740 land-based gas and oil rigs in operation; today, the number has climbed to 2,000. Most of these rigs are in the state of Texas, the largest producer of natural gas and crude oil in the US. Texas is also where the most number of oilfield workers are based and where the highest number of accidents and injuries are recorded.

Massachusetts personal injury attorneys may be able to help people injured while working on an oil field. According to the website of the Sampson Law Firm in Louisville, companies who drill oil have an obligation to make reasonable accommodations to keep their workers safe from unnecessary harm and can be held accountable for a failure to do so. This is to prevent companies from exploiting their workforce or treating human lives as though they are expendable or easily replaced.