Category Archives: Oil Field Worker Injuries

Oil Extradition Industry Safety Initiatives

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The oil extraction industry has become known as one of the most dangerous occupational fields. Workers are constantly exposed to conditions that require heightened awareness and attentiveness due to operating heavy machinery, handling chemicals, and working amid unstable environmental conditions.

Federal and private organizations have been implementing and enforcing safety regulations for decades, yet catastrophic and fatal incidents continue to occur every year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 44 occupational fatalities in private sector oil and gas extraction industries in 2020, the last year of available data. Thousands of other injuries were reported ranging from slip-and-fall incidents to chemical burns.

Oil extraction companies are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment for their employees. With the concern of preventable accidents, many employee safety organizations have scrutinized the working conditions in oilfields and mandated strict regulations for operating procedures that promote safety on the job.

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates and enforces safety standards and workers’ rights, believes that most oilfield accidents are preventable and has identified common causes of injury and death among oilfield workers to heighten awareness:

  • Vehicle Accidents
  • Struck-By/ Caught-In/ Caught-Between Machinery
  • Explosions and Fires
  • Falls
  • Confined Spaces
  • Chemical Exposures

In addition to regulating worksites, OSHA’s mission includes supplying resources, training, and assistance to help companies eliminate hazards and maintain safe and productive worksites. Many private safety equipment companies like Honeywell and Workrise promote safe working environments in oilfields, providing education and training resources, personal protection equipment, as well as relevant research on the environmental impacts such as methane emissions.

To maximize safety awareness in the oil extraction industry, the American Petroleum Institute’s Onshore Safety Alliance urges all oil field companies to take extra precautions to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Simple additional steps can be taken to protect the physical and mental well-being of oilfield workers:

  1. Complete a Job Safety Analysis Process to help develop a safety program tailored to the job site.
  2. Provide additional PPE to all employees to prevent overexposure to noise, chemicals, and other hazards.
  3. Train employees in the specifics of the industry and provide regular safety updates on machinery, job site changes, and expectations.
  4. Provide advanced education on the science of oil and gas extraction.
  5. Provide all required safety signage as well as additional safety information.
  6. Hold supervisors to a high standard of safety.
  7. Complete timely equipment maintenance.

Providing in-depth training, safety gear, and equipment maintenance are all simple ways to avoid accidents that can potentially cause serious injury. It is inexcusable for organizations to disregard safety procedures to prioritize profit. Unfortunately, this along with careless mistakes on the job lead to preventable accidents. When an accident does occur, it is important to hold the responsible parties accountable.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience representing those injured in the oilfield because of someone else’s negligence, including obtaining $4.5 million for a defective oilfield derrick and $3.5 million for a worker who sustained injuries after an oilfield crane dropped on him. We understand the concerns and frustrations that working families face when an earner is no longer able to work due to injury. Contact our Bakersfield office today to schedule a free consultation of your case.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 2:40 pm

What is an Oilfield Blowout and How Can They Be Prevented?

Friday, March 18, 2022

An oilfield blowout is an uncontrolled release of liquid, usually consisting of oil, water, and gas due to built-up pressure in an oil well. There are a series of tools and tactics that can be employed to prevent a blowout, but accidents still occur, causing tremendous potential damage, injury, and loss of life.

How do Oilfield Blowouts Occur?

Oil is a fossil fuel that naturally occurs over millions of years as underwater rock and sediment pressure separates water and carbon components from decaying life forms such as algae and plants. Over the centuries, pockets of oil develop in sedimentary basins where water was once located. Oil companies use enormous drills to reach oil pockets under land or water.

Blowouts can occur at any point during the drilling process. The immense underground hydrostatic pressure or the pressure exerted by a fluid at rest due to the force of gravity, within an oil pocket can be volatile. Drillers counteract the change in pressure as they extract the oil using mud. If the balance of pressure is not managed correctly, liquids can interfere causing a sudden spike in pressure – known as a kick – causing a blowout.

The pressure released during a blowout can cause severe damage to equipment and machinery, creating a cause and effect that can lead to a sudden dangerous situation for oil field workers.

How can Blowouts be Prevented?

The best line of defense in preventing blowouts is to ensure that all oilfield workers are properly trained and exercise an abundance of caution while on site. Site managers should be well versed in identifying the warning signs of a blowout and have the resources to act accordingly. There are a series of blowout prevention tools intended to identify pressure kicks and prevent blowouts including annular seals, rams, and API equipment.

  • Annular seals are ring-shaped pieces of equipment that create a liquid-tight seal where the drilling pipe meets the well opening and helps to prevent leaks.
  • Rams act as a valve that can help regulate the flow of pressurized liquid and gas in the event of a kick.
  • API (American Petroleum Institute) certified equipment sets a standard expectation for the safety of industry operations.

Injured in an Oilfield accident?

When blowouts occur they can potentially leave devastating consequences. Workers caught in the midst of a blowout may sustain catastrophic, life-threatening injuries.

If you are the victim of a blowout, it is important to know your rights and have a team of attorneys who understand the industry ready to fight for you.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience advocating for the rights of injured oilfield workers. Please reach out to our Bakersfield oilfield accident lawyers today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:00 pm

California Oilfield Accident Lawyers

Friday, January 28, 2022

The oil production industry brings in a substantial number of jobs and millions in revenue to California’s local and state economies every year.

Bakersfield has become known as the oilfield capital of California with the surrounding area of Kern County accounting for nearly 70% of the state’s oil and about 1% of global oil production. While other regions of California are phasing out oilfield production, Kern County is only growing with the recent approval of thousands of new rigs being placed in the upcoming years.

In an industry that is already considered hazardous, the rapid growth of oil rigs in this area is expected to also increase the number of on-the-job injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reported oilfield jobs in the top three most dangerous occupations.

It is possible to prevent oilfield accidents, yet traumatic and fatal accidents caused by explosions, faulty machinery, or environmental factors, among other variables, continue to threaten the safety of oilfield workers unnecessarily.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an oilfield accident, consider seeking professional help from our team of experienced oilfield accident lawyers who can help you navigate the many nuances of large corporation legal tactics and the layers of worker’s rights law. We understand the concerns and frustrations that working families face when an earner is no longer able to work due to injury.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience representing those injured in the oilfield because of someone else’s negligence, including obtaining $4.5 million for a defective oil field derrick and $3.5 million for a worker who sustained injuries after an oilfield crane dropped on him.

Daniel Rodriguez himself worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic. With his first-hand knowledge of how difficult and dangerous the work can be, he and his firm are especially versed in the rights workers have in the oilfield industry when accidents and injuries do occur.

Please reach out to our Bakersfield oilfield accident lawyers today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:51 pm

How to Prevent an Oilfield Accident

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The oil and gas industry is one of the most dangerous work sectors. Accidents in this field can occur in a variety of ways and can potentially have a large impact on individuals, organizations, and ecosystems. In 2020 the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers reported 14 oilfield fatalities occurring in 12 separate accidents. Thousands of other injuries were reported ranging from slip-and-fall incidents to chemical exposures. Despite the inherent danger that comes with the line of work, there are several key factors that can help prevent oilfield accidents from occurring.

Training

Having appropriate training procedures in place for all workers is key in ensuring a safe environment. Preparing individuals for their unique work conditions, the types of materials they encounter on a daily basis, and the level of caution to maintain around heavy machinery is greatly important. Without proper and reliable training unprepared workers are at a greater risk for a user-error accident. Even seasoned workers should receive regular job-specific training.

Properly Working Machinery

Maintaining machinery and equipment is essential to a safe working environment. Regular maintenance routines keep machines and equipment running smoothly and give operators the chance to observe issues or worn pieces that may lead to larger problems.

Safety Protocols

Workers should be upheld to strict safety standards that are in place to protect themselves and others around them. Organizations are required to provide all workers with appropriate safety gear and equipment including hard hats, gloves, steel-toed boots, safety glasses, and fire-resistant clothing. Enforcement of proper use of these tools will lower the risks associated with oilfield accidents.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides specific regulations and protocols for the oil and gas industry. Employers should supply workers with access to that information and readily communicate information, trends, or changes in protocols.

While the oil and gas industry comes with risks, it is always possible to minimize risk factors with caution and preparedness. Contact Rodriguez & Associates with any questions you may have regarding safety concerns or breaches in safety protocols within the oil and gas industry.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience representing those injured in the oilfield because of someone else’s negligence, including a worker who sustained injuries after an oilfield crane dropped on him obtaining $3.5 million in the case.

Daniel Rodriguez himself worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic. With his first-hand knowledge of how difficult and dangerous the work can be, he and his firm are especially versed in the rights workers have in the oilfield industry when accidents and injuries do occur.

Please reach out to our Bakersfield personal injury attorney today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:10 pm

The Most Dangerous Tasks for Oilfield Workers

Thursday, September 9, 2021

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, oilfield drivers often work much longer shifts, which increases the odds of a Bakersfield truck accident. 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 a Bakersfield 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.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:30 pm

California Oilfield Statistics 2021

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

California is one of the top 10 oil-producing states in America, with Kern and Ventura counties home to much of that production. In these counties, oilfields provide employment for thousands of individuals, making it an important industry for the livelihoods of many families.

While work on the oilfield is inherently dangerous, the right safety precautions and processes can avert many disasters and oilfield injuries. It helps too, to be up to speed on recent facts about the ever-changing industry, and what those points and statistics mean for oilfield workers.

Some recent figures include:

● The California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) has jurisdiction over more than 242,000 wells, including nearly 101,300 that are defined as active or idle. The Division’s authority extends from onshore to three miles offshore.

● Annually, 34.9 percent of oil supply sources to California refineries came from California oil sources. Overseas sources as well as those in Alaska made up the rest of the percentages, according to the California Energy Commission.

● While California remains one of the top 10 oil-producing states in the U.S., production has been on the decline since the middle of the 1980s. CalGEM is currently working to further the state’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2045.

● From 2008 through 2017, 1,566 workers died trying to extract oil and gas in the U.S. During the same time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited companies in the extraction industry for 10,873 violations.

● According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 489 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job between 2013 and 2017. Top hazards that can become fatalities are vehicle accidents, being struck by, caught in, or caught between equipment, explosions and fires, falls, being trapped in confined spaces, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

● Roughly 35,000 wells currently sit idle in California, with production suspended. An analysis by the Los Angeles Times and the Center for Public Integrity found that regions, including Kern County and Los Angeles, do not have enough money set aside to ensure these sites are cleaned up and made safe for all, now and in the future.

Daniel Rodriguez himself worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic, and knows firsthand how difficult and dangerous the work can be. If you have been injured in an oilfield accident, these statistics can help you determine if your situation warrants 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.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 1:18 pm

Common Injuries Associated With Oilfield Accidents

Thursday, July 22, 2021

California is one of the top oil-producing states in the country. A lot of that production is based in Kern and Ventura counties, and provides employment to residents of those areas. 

Oil field work is an inherently dangerous job. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries notes that 489 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job between 2013 and 2017, the most recent time period for data. 

While oilfield accidents aren’t entirely avoidable, many could be prevented with the right safety precautions and protocols in place. But all too often, oil well processing and transport facilities skirt or outright violate state and federal regulations, making their workplaces extremely dangerous and even life-threatening to employees.

The top safety and health hazards that can result in fatalities for these workers are vehicle accidents, being struck by, caught in, or caught between equipment, explosions and fires, falls, being trapped in confined spaces, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

A number of injuries are common on the oilfield because of these types of accidents.

Burns. Workers can get severe burns from steam, fire, hot equipment, and electric shock. Serious injuries, such as third-degree burns, can cause permanent nerve damage as well as disfigurement. They normally require skin grafts for wound closure as well as rehabilitation. 

Fractures and broken bones. On the oilfield, fractures and broken bones can happen when a worker falls, gets struck by an object, or is involved in explosions or transportation accidents. These injuries can put oilfield employees out of work for weeks or months at a time, seriously impacting their ability to provide for their household.

Permanent Hearing Loss. When oil companies fail to supply their workers with adequate protection, they put those individuals at risk for all sorts of injuries. Hearing loss can happen when workers are constantly surrounded by loud machinery but not given proper earplugs for the job. This hearing loss can be lifelong, which seriously impacts a person’s ability to do their job.

Brain Injuries. Oilfield workers can get a brain injury if they are hit on the head by a moving object or sustain a severe fall. Brain injuries can range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries that have lifelong consequences. The most severe types of brain injuries hinder a person from doing even the most basic day-to-day tasks like showering and feeding themselves.

Soft Tissue Injuries. Because of the repetitive nature of many tasks on the oilfield, such as operating machinery, injuries of the soft tissue are quite common. These muscle and tendon tears may start off as small, barely noticeable injuries and develop into more serious ones over time. 

It is important to take note of all injuries as soon as they happen, however minor they may seem at first. Many oilfield injuries are preventable, and if your injury is the result of your employer treating safety precautions lightly or violating them, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. To do that, you must have evidence of the injuries, which is why documenting them is so important. 

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience representing those injured in the oilfield because of someone else’s negligence. Daniel Rodriguez himself worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic. Knowing first-hand how difficult and dangerous the work can be, he and his firm are especially attuned to the rights of workers in this industry when accidents and injuries occur. 

Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:07 pm

4 Common Causes of Oilfield Accidents

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Though the oilfield is an inherently dangerous place to work, safety measures can be highly effective when they are implemented, monitored, and managed correctly. It’s when facilities choose to skirt the rules, cut corners, and sometimes even blatantly violate state and federal regulations that oilfield accidents most commonly happen, leading to serious and even life-threatening injuries.

Dangers for workers abound in the oilfield. Moving oil and oil-related equipment accounts for the majority of oilfield accidents. According to the most recent available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half, or 42 percent, of all oilfield fatalities in 2017 were related to transportation. 

Contact injuries are the next most common accident, followed by explosions by combustion or fire, exposure to harmful substances, and falls. 

To lessen the risk of such things happening, workers and employers must understand the underlying causes that lead to these accidents in the first place. Four of the most common are:

Inadequate Training. For an oilfield to be a safe environment, workers need to be familiar with all of the processes and machinery they are using, in addition to knowing any risks and hazards before the job starts. An inexperienced or poorly trained crewmember could be a liability to themselves and others. The employer is responsible for properly training and equipping workers.  

Carelessness. Following safety protocols, avoiding distractions, and paying close attention to the task at hand are all crucial for employers and crewmembers when it comes to keeping the oilfield safe. Cutting corners to get the job done faster can lead to life-threatening situations in this environment.  

Faulty equipment. Faulty and defective equipment on an oilfield can cause all sorts of dangers: gas leaks, chemical fires, and pipeline explosions, to name a few. Defects can happen for a number of reasons, from manufacturing design flaws to shoddy maintenance practices. Depending on what causes a rig or other piece of machinery to malfunction will impact which parties might be liable for damages. 

Unanticipated environmental hazards. OSHA lists temperature extremes (both hot and cold), exposure to harmful gases (e.g., hydrogen sulfide) or radioactive material, harmful levels of noise, and exposure to silica as some of the environmental hazards oilfield workers can encounter and that can cause accidents. These hazards can also cause long-term health problems if crewmembers are not given the kind of protective gear required to guard against injury. 

On the oilfield, knowing the underlying causes for accidents never completely removes the risk of them happening. After all, this is a dangerous place to work no matter how carefully safety precautions are followed. However, as noted above, the risk of injury or death is greatly lessened when facilities, their managers, and their workers take care to follow regulations. 

If any of these accidents happen because of negligence, workers can pursue compensation for injuries.  

Rodriguez & Associates has provided caring legal help to oilfield accident victims since 1980. Our founder and president, Daniel Rodriguez even has firsthand experience working in the oilfields and knows how hard the work can be and how dangerous it becomes if safety is not prioritized. 

If you have been impacted by one of these accidents, you are not alone. Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:15 pm

California Oilfield Accident Statistics: What They Are, Why They Matter

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

As the third-largest oil-producing state in the U.S., California employs hundreds of thousands of individuals for the extraction of oil (and gas) each year. Oil is a vital part of the Golden State’s overall economy, one that contributes billions of dollars to both state and local governments and provides income to countless individuals and families.

The oil industry is also a very dangerous one where workers continually encounter all manner of hazards, from slips and falls to fires and explosions, to name only a few. Some of these dangers are simply inherent to the industry itself. However, a great many of them are more often than not the result of humans — whether employers, employees, or those setting the safety policies — failing to take proper precautions when working in this high-risk industry.

Statistics about accidents in the oil industry abound. It is helpful to know some of them to understand the magnitude of the problem and how the industry can work to avoid some of these injuries and fatalities in the future.

1. The oil and gas industry is one of the most dangerous in the world.
From 2008 through 2017, 1,566 workers died trying to extract oil and gas in the U.S. During the same time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited companies in the extraction industry for 10,873 violations. Workers in this industry are routinely exposed to hazardous fumes and chemicals, work with heavy equipment, and are often at risk of being near fires and explosions. It isn’t hard to see why cutting corners when it comes to safety can lead to serious injury and even death.

2. Numerous hazards can result in fatalities.
According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 489 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job between 2013 and 2017. The top safety and health hazards that can result in fatalities for these workers are vehicle accidents, being struck by, caught in, or caught between equipment, explosions and fires, falls, being trapped in confined spaces, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

3. The “oil and gas boom” in the U.S. increased fatalities.
The period from 2003 to 2013 is known as the “oil and gas boom,” a time when the industry doubled the size of its workforce and increased drilling by 71 percent. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that during this time, 1,189 workers died on the job. Top causes of death were transportation incidents, contact with objects and/or equipment, fires or explosions, exposure to harmful chemicals, and falls/slips/trips.

4. The majority of oil workers fatally injured are young.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health notes that of the fatalities among U.S. oil workers between 2015 and 2016, the majority were between the ages of 21 and 30.

Daniel Rodriguez himself worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic. Knowing first-hand how difficult and dangerous the work can be, he and his firm are especially attuned to the rights of workers in this industry when accidents and injuries occur. If you are an individual who has been injured in an oil accident, these statistics can help you determine if your situation warrants contacting an attorney and pursuing a claim.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:16 pm

Bakersfield Oil Field Accident Lawyers

Monday, July 1, 2019

Bakersfield oil accident lawyer Daniel Rodriguez has personal experience working in oil fields. He knows how hard it can be – long hours, physically demanding work, and sometimes dangerous conditions.

While the oil industry is inherently dangerous, safety precautions are effective when safety rules are observed and followed. When oil well processing and transport facilities don’t follow state and federal safety regulations as well as their own safety rules and injuries result, workers can pursue compensation.

Today, Daniel is in a position where he can help oil field workers who have been injured on the job.

He and his team of Bakersfield oil field accident lawyers have successfully provided legal help to oil and construction site accidents for over 30 years.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 6:09 pm