The oil and gas extraction industry has one of the highest severe injury rates in the nation, according to an E&E News report detailing workplace injury data. According to some measures, the industry leads the pack among all industries in this category. When examining available recorded data, more severe injuries occur in oil and gas than virtually every other industry, with the exception of General Medical and Surgical Hospitals. However, to put it in perspective, the oil and gas industry consists of fewer than 250,000 individuals while the hospital industry has more than 3 million.
These statistics contradict data often advertised by the oil and gas industry inferring that its overall injury rate is significantly less than the national average. However, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data published on severe injuries corresponds with the industry’s high number of worker deaths.
Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s NIOSH data, from January 2015 to February 2017, 602 oil and gas extraction incidents led to 481 hospitalizations and 166 amputations.
Severe gaps in reporting
However, despite the available data, there are stark gaps in the reporting of these injuries. These gaps include:
- The reporting and under reporting errors are excessive. Approximately 50% of accidents are most likely underreported when compared with workers’ compensation data. As well, self-reporting of these accidents can leave out vital information and details.
- Many state-run OSHA programs are not included in the reporting process.
- Hauling/trucking related accidents may be recorded on other NAICs codes.
- Incidents that occur on highways, public streets, or during a regular commute are not covered under OSHA’s jurisdiction.
Severe injuries in upstream oil and gas operations are difficult to compile as a result.
Severe injuries defined
Severe injuries are defined as those injuries resulting in hospitalization or amputation. They can include serious burns suffered in oil and gas platform explosions, lacerations sustained from interaction with equipment, and fractures from slip and falls, just to name a few. A common type of injury in the oil and gas industry involves the amputation of fingers and fingertips as a result of the use of dangerous machinery.
The need for better management and cooperation in the industry
It is vital that ownership, management, supervisors, and workers in the field to cooperate in the development of better workplace injury reporting procedures. The current reporting gaps, as mentioned above, only serve to reduce the confidence in the industry and work against the interests and rights of workers in the field. Individuals entering and currently operating in the oil and gas extraction industry have a right to know the full extent of the risks, dangers, and causes of injuries and fatalities.
At Cunningham & Mears, our experienced Oklahoma City oilfield injury attorneys are here to fight for the financial compensation you deserve if you have sustained an injury in an oilfield accident. To arrange a free, initial consultation about your case, give our law office a call today at 405.212.9234 or drop us a message through our contact form.
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Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More