When it comes to jobs that are inherently dangerous, the oil and gas industries are at the top of the list. From 2013 to 2017, the most recent year for data, 489 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Explosions, such as the type that caused the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, are typically what come to mind when we think of oilfield accidents. But while those events are undoubtedly catastrophic, they are not necessarily the most common danger for those working on the oilfield.
The most dangerous tasks for oilfield workers include:
Driving. One of the most dangerous jobs in the oil industry doesn’t take place on the field or rig but instead on the freeway. Motor vehicle crashes cause over 50 percent of work-related deaths in the oil and gas extraction industries, according to the CDC.
This is largely due to the long hours these drivers are usually required to put in. Oilfield drivers are subject to different rules under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service regulations than other commercial truck drivers. Because of this, they often work much longer shifts. The fatigue and exhaustion from such long hours can greatly increase the risk of a catastrophic accident happening.
Derrick operations. Derrick operators build, operate, inspect, manage, and service all components of an oil derrick. This means they are constantly working with heavy, dangerous equipment that if not managed properly can lead to falling objects, crush injuries, and slips and falls.
Derrick operators are also expected to work long hours in all types of weather: extreme heat, freezing cold, wind storms, and other situations. Like drivers, these individuals battle a good deal of fatigue from their working conditions and are at greater risk for accidents because of it.
Roustabout. Roustabouts are entry-level workers who do a number of different tasks, including handling cargo, transporting materials, and maintaining equipment. The work is physically and mentally demanding, and the hours are generally long.
Roustabouts also work in extreme weather conditions and with heavy, dangerous equipment.
Many oilfield accidents are preventable when proper safety regulations are followed and basic precautions taken. It is when employers cut corners to save time that their workers wind up at risk for severe injury and even death.
If anyone knows this firsthand, it’s Rodriguez & Associates boss Daniel Rodriguez, who worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic. He knows firsthand how difficult and dangerous the work can be, and how important it is to give those injured by someone else’s negligence a chance for justice.
If you have been injured in an oilfield accident because of negligence, consider contacting an oilfield injury attorney and pursuing a claim. Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.