Oilfield workers face considerable health and safety concerns due to the nature of their jobs. The number of inexperienced workers, the use of heavy equipment, powerful machinery, and volatile liquids and gasses all contribute to a hazardous work environment, but one that has become essential to California’s economy.
Accidents experienced on an oilfield are often preventable and may occur out of negligence on the part of workers, supervisors, corporate offices, or equipment manufacturers. When negligence causes minor or severe injury, the employee has the right to seek legal representation and potential damages for losses caused due to the injury.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the fatality rate among oil and gas workers is seven times higher than all other industries in the United States. The most common accidents that cause fatalities and injuries in the oil and gas industry include automobile accidents, caught-in, struck-by or caught-between incidents, fires and explosions, and falls from great heights.
Controlling or minimizing the likelihood of a hazard is the best way to prevent accidents and injuries on an oilfield. A number of federal and state government agencies including OSHA set safety expectations and regulations that employers are required by law to follow. Ultimately, organizations, managers, and supervisors are responsible for ensuring a safe working environment for anyone on the worksite.
Ensure Proper Training of All Employees
Companies and supervisors are responsible for the proper training of all employees. Training should include required gear and how to use it, a full understanding of operation procedures, the use of the equipment, and any necessary mechanics, among other things. Inexperienced workers should receive all necessary training before being granted permission to operate equipment independently.
Consistently Enforce Safety Regulations
California Law requires oil companies to follow the strict regulations outlined by government agencies to protect workers, the public, and the environment. Supervisors and managers must consistently enforce these safety regulations in order to maintain a safe work environment for everyone. OSHA regularly performs safety audits of oilfields to ensure companies are in compliance with regulations and workers maintain the right to file a complaint with OSHA should their employer fail to follow and administer proper safety regulations.
Avoid Oilfield Worker Burnout
Oilfield workers frequently have high demands placed on their time and availability, including hours of overtime. Exhaustion does not allow workers to work clearly and efficiently, with research suggesting that the effects of fatigue on the brain are as harmful as drunk driving. Exhaustion can affect memory, motor skills, decision-making, and balance. Employers should place reasonable demands on their employees, and provide schedules that allow for adequate rest.
Ensure Oilfield Equipment is Well Maintained
Oilfields contain a significant amount of mechanical equipment that requires specific maintenance to ensure that it is properly functioning. Heavy machinery that is not fully inspected and maintained can potentially have catastrophic impacts on safety features, shut-off valves, and sensors that can prevent or alert to blowouts, fires, or other hazards. Fully functional equipment is less likely to break or malfunction and create the potential for severe accidents.
Supply Workers with Necessary Protective Gear
From masks and footwear to harnesses and helmets, oilfield workers require layers of protection against the elements, slippery surfaces, and heights among other hazards. Since 2018, OSHA requires all employers to provide workers with appropriate and necessary personal protective equipment that meets the administration’s safety standards.
How We Can Help
It is inexcusable for organizations to disregard safety procedures on oilfields 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 personal injury law office today to schedule a free consultation of your case.