Oil Field Accidents

There are over 450,000 people employed in the oil and gas extraction industry. Workers in this field are engaged in a variety of industrial processes to successfully drill and service a well. These processes are aided by the use of specialized equipment and work crews. 

From 2013 to 2017, there were 489 gas and oil workers killed on the job. 

Hazardous and dangerous conditions that may result in fatality:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Struck by/caught-in/caught-between
  • Explosions and fires
  • Falls
  • Confined spaces
  • Chemical exposure 
  • Drilling accidents
  • Fracking accidents
  • Machinery and equipment malfunctions
  • Machinery and equipment failure 

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the governing body that puts forth the healthy and safety regulations across the oil and gas industry. 

OSHA safety regulations:

  • Training requirements
  • Rig floor supervision
  • Worker Supervision
  • Equipment and machinery standards
  • Equipment cleaning and maintenance
  • Constant well control
  • Proper labeling of hazardous substances
  • Hard hats, eye protection, and safety-toe footwear are required
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, including hearing and respiratory protection
  • Fall protection gear
  • Emergency eye and body wash stations
  • Immediate accident and injury reporting and treatment
  • Accident investigation

Failure to follow these important regulations may lead to your employer being found negligent. 

When you suffer injuries while working in an oil field there are a few different ways to receive compensation. The most frequently used avenue is workers’ compensation. In Texas, employers are not required to have workers compensation insurance. If your employer does not participate in workers’ compensation, you can sue them directly. Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system, but if you are suing your employer you will need to prove that their negligence or recklessness was the cause of your accident.

Outside of workers compensation claims or suing your employer, you might also have a right to sue other parties. If you recover enough compensation from a third party without retaining your workers’ compensation benefits, you might have to repay your employer’s insurance carrier. 

Other parties you may be able to sue: 

  • Oil rig owners and manufacturers 
  • Trucking and shipping companies
  • Vehicle manufacturers
  • Landowners
  • Contractors and subcontractors
  • The oil and gas industry

If you have already received workers’ compensation, you may still have a legal claim. By contacting an oil field accident lawyer you may be able to recover compensation beyond what workers’ compensation can provide, such as recovery for pain and suffering. You may also be entitled to disability compensation if you are no longer able to work due to your injury. If your new injury has aggravated an old injury, you may be entitled to receive compensation for chronic pain or permanent impairment.

Different states have different statutes of limitations. In Texas, you have two years to file a lawsuit. In New Mexico, you have three years to file a lawsuit. The clock on these limitations starts ticking the day your accident occurs.

Oil field accidents can become very complex, that is why it is important to work with an oil field accident lawyer. They will help advise you on what avenue will get you the compensation you deserve. Please contact the attorneys at the Cochran Firm today to arrange a consultation.

Resources:

https://www.osha.gov/oil-and-gas-extraction

https://www.bls.gov/cew/home.htm

https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm