The oil industry is crucial in today’s world, but especially in Texas; after all, thousands of workers in the state make a living from natural gas and oil work. However, this industry also contains its fair share of dangers, including grueling hours, long commutes and work involving heavy equipment. These risks all follow the actual process of the job itself: the removal of hydrocarbons from the earth can create unsafe working conditions. With these extreme circumstances, protecting workers should remain a top priority, but accidents can nevertheless occur.
The harsh working conditions of the oil industry may seem apparent, but an article in Salon raised the issue that many deaths have, unfortunately, gone unacknowledged. Salon shares statistics from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board to show that, between 2007 and 2012, 40 percent of 663 workers died while working in oil field-related industries in Texas alone. Although this industry may always carry some level of uncertainty, Salon points out that many accidents fall through the cracks. For example, regulations require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate only incidents that leave workers dead or that require at least three workers hospitalized. Shockingly enough, this resulted in the lack of investigation of thousands of accidents that led to injury or illness.
An article in The Houston Chronicle also criticizes the federal government for ignoring a large majority of oil field accidents. The oil boom in the last decade has, in turn, caused countless injuries and deaths among workers — many of whom received no significant consideration from government officials. Some may wonder, why Texas? While this issue certainly affects other states, The Chronicle blames the federal government for failing to implement safety methods and standards for oil and gas drilling over the last 22 years. What comes as an even bigger shock is that 78 percent of accidents in Texas were in violation of safety procedures. The oil industry creates dangers, but many of those dangers could be prevented.