What poses the most threat to offshore oil workers?

If you are an oil worker, then you are well aware of how dangerous it can be, especially for offshore jobs. It is even more dangerous in Texas than in other states, as discussed in a previous post. There are a few key areas that pose significant threats to offshore workers.

The fatality rate for the oil and gas extraction industry was 27.1 per 100,000 workers for the years 2003-2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Compared to the average fatality rate, this was seven times as high.

You are at the most risk when you are heading to and from the oilrig. Bad weather or mechanical failures often play a role in transportation accidents that result in death. Over half (51 percent) of the fatalities were attributed to transportation activities in the CDC report, mostly due to helicopter accidents. If you work in the transportation industry, moving oil workers or equipment to and from the rig, you also face a risk of fatal accidents. Workers in the transportation industry made up about one-fourth of the fatalities.

The offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico pose the largest threat, with only one fatality not occurring in that area between the years 2003 and 2010. You might assume that the fatality numbers are decreasing with 63 percent fewer rigs active offshore during these same years. However, it remained constant, with an average of 16 deaths per year for a total of 128.

On the rig, you might be aware of the other major dangers, such as hazardous chemicals, fires and explosions and getting struck by or stuck in equipment. Although these do pose a threat and could lead to an injury or death, they only accounted for fewer than half the deaths in the years studied. Fires and explosions were associated with 13 percent of the fatal accidents, and toxic exposure accounted for the same number of deaths. Sixteen percent of fatalities involved equipment accidents.

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