The prime cause of oil and gas worker fatalities, just as with others workers in general industries, is transportation accidents. The majority of oil industry employees injured on-the-job are eligible to file for and obtain workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits pay for a percentage of loss of income, physical rehab, and medical treatments.
Transportation-related accidents in the oil and gas industry account for 40% of the fatalities. The major contributing factors to these accidents include driving on unpaved and secondary roads, working irregular and long work hours, and inclement weather.
Driver safety policies are important in heavy industries such as oil and gas to establish and enforce safe driving practices and give drivers the ability to recognize dangerous hazards, such as poor weather hazards, driver fatigue issues, and other distractions. A reduction of transportation accidents and injuries is possible when company vehicles are properly maintain, drivers’ records are periodically checked, and drivers are required to wear seat belts.
Transportation accident fatalities among oil and gas workers
Between 2003 and 2014, transportation accident fatalities in the oil and gas industry, which accounted for about 41% of these fatalities, resulted from crushing incidents or fires and explosions. Within this timeframe more than 1330 workers in this industry lost their lives on-the-job. Drivers in the oil and gas industry who operate in the transportation of oil via roadways or pipelines have a 4.1 per 100,000 worker fatality rate.
Oil and gas worker Injuries from transportation activities
Oil and gas workers are vulnerable to sustaining crushing injuries when operating heavy equipment of various types, including in transportation activities. Workers can suffer slip and fall injuries from elevated heights when loading and unloading products. Drivers may become exposed to natural gas or oil if these material leak during transport or do not have proper protective equipment available. Lack of proper repairs or maintenance may also result in faulty safety valves and vents that fail to operate and give workers the fresh air they need.
Drivers can suffer injuries other than from the impact of a crash. They may also suffer burns when contacting spilled oil or being exposed to fumes, which can result in damaging respiratory injuries. When employers do not follow proper safety protocols set up by regulatory bodies for the safe handling and transport of petrochemicals, drivers and others can suffer considerably.
Oklahoma is right in the middle of oilfield country. The economy of the state relies on the production of this valuable resource for its energy and economy. Workers who operate in this industry have the rightful expectation to be protected by owners and supervisors as much as possible, minimizing their risk of harm. When an injury or death occurs in the oilfield, oftentimes, the injured or family of the deceased has the right to recover financial compensation. At Cunningham & Mears we are here to help. To set up a free consultation, give us a call today at 405.232.1212 or fill out our contact form.
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