The Deadliest Types of Oil Field Accidents

The Deadliest Types of Oil Field AccidentsOil field accidents are devastating at any level, but many carry a high risk of fatalities. When that occurs, families are left without their loved ones, often for senseless reasons.

Nearly any accident in an oil field or on an oil rig carries a high risk with it. There are some, however, that are at a much higher risk of fatalities.

#1: Transportation accidents

Transportation incidents” are the leading cause of work-related fatalities in general; oil field accidents are no exception. They account for about 40% of all oil and gas industry deaths, and are a leading cause of injuries, too. While any truck wreck can be deadly, the risks increase when drivers are hauling flammable and hazardous materials.

#2: Equipment malfunctions

Many times, oil field machinery can fail. This could be due to the simple, highly pressured demand for it or because of poor design and maintenance. Heavy machinery malfunctions can cause numerous risks, including serious injuries from falling equipment. Earth movers and cranes tend to work reliably, but there are many situations where this does not happen, and heavy pieces of machinery can strike and kill a person instantly. Those who survive are likely to sustain crushing injuries, which can lead to amputation and severe lacerations, causing serious bleeding and infection risk.

#3: Fumes and toxic exposure

When working in an oil field, the risk of exposure to toxic fumes and chemicals is very high. In every situation, there are tools available (like personal protective equipment)  to minimize that exposure, but even then, there are risks to circulatory and respiratory health when mistakes occur. High levels of heavy metals and hazardous chemical exposure put lives on the line both during the course of work and years later.

#4: Falls from heights

Rigging equipment within the oil field is a big part of the job, but small mistakes, worn ropes, and other damaged equipment components can lead to falls. These heights often contribute to serious injury and death simply because of the height, but there are also other factors, including intense heat and rough conditions. Brain injuries and paralysis are not uncommon here.

#5: Fire and explosions

In many situations, a fire or explosion can leave a person with serious injury, traumatic brain injuries, and burns if they do not cause death upon impact. Many components within the oil field can explode if not maintained properly. Other times, unforeseen circumstances can lead to such events.

#6: Fracking-related incidents

Fracking poses some of the highest risks of oil field accidents because it involves working in unstable environments on a consistent basis. Workers are tasked with injecting highly pressurized water into these unstable areas, which can lead to significant spills and dangerous explosions. Toxic exposure is also very common here.

In any situation, there is a high risk of individuals struggling with recovery. Even if a person’s life is saved at the scene, surgical procedures, long-term rehabilitation, infection risk, and an overall reduction in quality of life can lead to early death as well.

Why do oil field accidents happen?

There are numerous potential reasons why oil field accidents occur. Even in the best-managed environments, serious injuries can occur. Some of the most common reasons for these injuries include:

  • Poor attention to safety standards and operational requirements
  • Poorly maintained workspaces that create a high-risk environment
  • Improperly maintained equipment or poorly designed equipment (inferior equipment is not uncommon)
  • Pressure to work faster can lead to less efficiency in maintaining safe work environments
  • Untrained or inexperienced teams can be at a higher risk of injury

No matter what occurred, there are many instances in which negligence is a factor. The key here is to take steps to protect your rights and work with an experienced attorney if you are an injured worker or an immediate family member who lost a loved one to this type of accident.

What can companies and workers do to reduce oil field accidents?

Accidents may seem unpreventable in some situations, but there may be some core steps that workers and companies can take to minimize risks.

  • Follow all OSHA standards for worker safety standards.
  • Avoid cutting corners to save time or reduce costs.
  • Put in place secondary strategies for double-checking equipment or protocols for managing difficult scenarios.
  • Train employees numerous times on how to manage high-risk situations and emergency situations to minimize negative outcomes.
  • Teach first aid strategies to all employees, even if their job does not involve managing high-risk scenarios.
  • Work to modernize and upgrade equipment and resources to ensure employees are utilizing the most effective solutions available to protect their safety.

Every situation is unique, but when an oil field accident occurs, the lives of many are on the line. Having strategies in place to minimize those risks can help an organization safeguard their most valuable asset – their people. At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City oil field accident attorneys are here to help you.

If you have suffered an injury on an oil field, obtain legal representation to protect yourself from loss. Even if it is an accident that seems to be something that could not have been predicted or avoided, negligence may have played a role in the incident. For that reason, you may have a right to compensation. Let our Oklahoma City oil field accident attorneys at Cunningham & Mears guide you in obtaining the compensation owed to you. With years of experience and dedication to our clients and their families, we are here for you now. Call our office or submit our contact form for a free consultation to discuss your case.