The oil and gas industry plays a vital role in the Texas economy, and provides many people with a steady source of work. Those in the oil fields face high on-the-job accident risks, though, and according to Texas Mutual Insurance Company, one of these is motor vehicle accidents. Data indicates that workers in the oil and gas industry face a risk of a motor vehicle crash death that is eight times higher than in other industries.
Research for the National Council on Compensation Insurance reveals that the practice of fracking, in particular, has driven up the incidences of workers' compensation claims. Vehicle accidents continue to be the most common cause of worker deaths, and other dangers include the following:
- Exposure to exhaust gases, silica and temperature extremes
- Fatigue and overexertion
- Explosions and fires
- Unsafe noise levels
Not only is the potential for injury higher, the remote locations of many wells may limit the ability to seek medical attention promptly. This may be one reason that injuries reported in this industry have become more severe. The study showed that construction and operation of pipelines has seen the most rise in severity of injuries.
There may be related medical effects because of fracking, as well. For example, an increase in the number of emergency room visits may strain local providers and facilities, and a shortage of staff trained to handle them may become a factor. This may also affect whether workers are able to undergo the rehabilitation needed to provide them with a complete recovery.