Many Texas workers between ages 18 and 35 earn their livings in the oil industry. In San Antonio, Lubbock, Midland and surrounding regions, this type of work is a mainstay for a diverse population from various ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds. The work is not without its dangers, however, and preventing disaster often lies in knowing the risks ahead of time, as well as what to do if an accident occurs.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration often investigates the aftermaths of oil industry workplace accidents. In doing so, the administration has come up with a list of the top hazards associated with this type of work. If you or your loved one work in the oil fields, you'll want to beware of the many risks involved.
Common causes of oil field work injuries
The old saying that prevention is the best medicine may apply in many oil field jobs. Employers are responsible for making sure you and all other workers receive proper training and are informed of all known hazards and risks associated with daily job tasks. Below, is a brief list highlighting the top hazards of oil field work:
- Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for oil field workers. In fact, OSHA has stated that at least four out of every ten oil worker fatalities involve on-the-job motor vehicle collisions. Many workers travel between well sites, which are often located in remote areas. This necessitates long distance highway travel, which increases the risk for collisions.
- There are various vapors and gases present in oil fields. For instance, wells, vehicles and other equipment often release hydrogen sulfide, which is a highly flammable gas. Static electricity, open flames, lightning and other sources may cause it or other gases and vapors to ignite.
- In the oil industry, most workers are familiar with the following string of terms: struck-by/caught-by/caught-between. Many oil industry injuries occur when workers are hit by falling equipment, struck by high-pressured lines that break free or get stuck between vehicles or massive pieces of machinery.
Wearing appropriate hand, eye and other body protection gear is sometimes enough to ward off injury. Even if you're aware of the risks and are alert and cautious in your duties, an accident may occur when you least expect it. Such incidents often result in very serious injuries, requiring lengthy recoveries, preventing workers from returning to the workplace. This often creates financial hardships for injured workers and their families. Workers' compensation exists to help Texas workers and others pay medical expenses, replace lost wages and make ends meet while they recuperate.
The time it takes from the moment you file a workers' comp claim to the moment you receive your first benefits check may turn out to be longer than you'd hoped. Overcoming any obstacles that arise in the process is often easier with the help of a seasoned workers' compensation attorney.