What Causes Most Oil Field Explosions in Oklahoma?

What Causes Most Oil Field Explosions in Oklahoma?Working in an oil field can be extremely dangerous and even deadly, and this type of work can lead to permanent and life-threatening injuries. Most of the time, these injuries are a result of explosions.

If you are considering  oil field work, you should understand the causes of oil field explosions.

Fires or fumes

One of the most common causes of oil field explosions is fires or fumes. Because stored oil is highly flammable, something as small as a tiny spark can cause a huge explosion. Since there are so many flammable objects and tools used at an oil field, workers must be extremely cautious when using machines, equipment, or tools.

Not enough experience

Anyone considering working in an oil field must take the time to obtain the proper education, training, and experience.

Unfortunately, many oil field companies hire inexperienced workers to handle difficult tasks, which may lead to a dangerous explosion. Oil field workers must be taught rules and procedures to ensure that they are using the machines and tools correctly and performing their duties properly.  When companies decide to allow unqualified workers to assume these roles, disastrous situations may occur.

Exhaustion and fatigue

Oil field work causes workers to become tired, burned out, and exhausted. It is a very demanding industry, requiring workers to work long hours – many oil field employees work a minimum of 12 hours per day in harsh conditions. As a result, they experience fatigue, which leads to errors, mistakes, and accidents that can lead to explosions.

Lack of training and safety awareness

Oil field employees must be properly trained in how to handle certain machinery, complete specific tasks, and extract oil. They also need to be educated on safety awareness and procedures to keep themselves and others safe while on the job. If the oil company fails to provide the proper training and safety awareness, workers may become severely injured or even killed while on duty.

Malfunctioning and faulty equipment

One of the main reasons why the oil field industry is so dangerous is because the workers frequently need to use specific tools and equipment to drill and extract the oil. Unfortunately, the equipment and tools used can malfunction or become faulty, resulting in large and deadly explosions. This typically happens when companies try to save money by forgoing needed equipment and tool repairs or replacements.

Reckless or careless behavior

Reckless or careless behavior is one of the most common causes of oil field explosions. When workers feel rushed to get the job done, they might get careless – like not taking all safety precautions when dealing with explosive materials, or not ensuring that there are no live sparks anywhere near the site. Failing to check pressure levels, negligent use of power tools, failing to maintain proper ventilation – any of these acts of negligence can lead to an explosion.

Fuels and chemicals

Crude oil is flammable, and the gases that build up beneath the earth’s surface can explode when released during drilling, or even during transport. Hydrogen sulfide, methane, and butane are all highly flammable, and can create explosive blasts when they come in contact with heat or sparks.

Oil field workers also use chemicals in the extraction process, and those can pose an explosion risk, too. If the chemicals are impure, those impurities can react with gases and cause explosions. Anionic polyacrylamide, for example, can mix with any combustible dust and cause an explosion; all it takes is some welding dust and the whole operation can go up in flames.

Tips that oil field workers should keep in mind to prevent explosions

Here are a few important tips that oil field workers follow to prevent explosions:

  • Make sure that a fire extinguisher is nearby and easily accessible: When working near any flammable items, particularly oil, it is crucial to have one or more fire extinguishers nearby and easily accessible, depending on the number of employees.
  • Wear nonflammable clothing: Wearing nonflammable clothing will help reduce the chances of your body catching fire or causing an explosion.
  • Conduct routine inspections to make sure that all equipment is working properly: It is critical that oil field employees make sure that equipment is working properly. If a tool or machine is malfunctioning, it should not be used until it is repaired.
  • Have a plan in place for emergencies such as an explosion: There should be a plan in place for emergencies like explosions, and oil field workers should know what safety procedures or drills to follow in case of emergency, reducing the risk of severe injuries and fatalities.

If you or someone you care about has been involved in an oil field explosion, the Oklahoma City oil field accident attorneys at Cunningham & Mears are ready to assist you. We will listen to your experience, review your claim, and help you determine your legal options. Our team will work hard to help you obtain the financial compensation you need and deserve.  Call or submit our contact form to schedule your free initial case review at one of our office locations in Oklahoma City today.