Texas leads the nation in oilfield accident fatalities

The oilfield has always been a dangerous location to work. With the recent oil boom in Texas and around the nation, the number of oilfield accidents has risen sharply. From 2008 to 2012, the total number of deaths reported from the oilfield was 545, according to the Houston Chronicle. Out of those deaths, 216 occurred in Texas. 

According to Insurance Journal, findings of a recent investigation found that onshore and fracking operations posted the greatest risk compared to offshore drilling operations. While offshore drilling implemented guidelines to improve safety, the same cannot be said for onshore and fracking operations, which still use outdated equipment and other practices that offshore operations have deemed unsafe. 

There was a 60 percent increase in deaths in 2012, which saw a total of 65 deaths. In addition to the high number of deaths in that year, there were numerous accidents resulting in major injuries, including 675 broken bones, 92 burns, 79 instances of loss of limbs and 82 people were crushed while working on the oil field.

With deaths and accidents occurring piecemeal rather than one large-scale disaster, they have largely occurred under the radar. OSHA does not have specific oil and gas regulations, and few of the 95 Texas inspectors have no actual experience or training in the industry and lack the right to shut down any site if they do find unsafe working conditions. However, OSHA has made the oil industry a priority to overturn these dangerous conditions and make it a safer place for workers.


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