Are you one of the many workers who make a living on the Texas oil fields? Then you will likely know that it is an extremely dangerous industry, and an endless list of threats could cause severe injuries and even fatalities. Along with the challenging working conditions, faulty equipment and negligent actions of others could leave you without an income and mountains of medical bills.
The many different hazards of your job range from environmental and basic structural hazards, to the dangers posed by chemical exposure. Safety authorities say working on onshore oil rigs pose above-average risks of nonfatal injuries, and the most common hazards are fire, machinery, falls, falling tools and fatigue.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says a significant number of recorded oilfield worker injuries result from fires and explosions. The primary causes include the following:
- Highly flammable petroleum
- Dangerous chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide
- Pressure build-up causing explosions
Your employer must provide the necessary personal protective equipment.
The following machinery hazards are common on oil rigs:
- Spinning machinery, the drill, cranes, forklifts and other support units
- Communication problems due to excessively noisy equipment
- The risk of moving machinery crushing you or one of your limbs
- Electrocution risks
You have the right to refuse to work on machinery without the necessary guards, railings and energy control devices.
Falling tools and fall hazards
Fall-related accidents pose the following risks:
- Falls from elevated levels cause most fatalities on onshore oil rigs
- Being struck by dropped tools cause many debilitating or fatal injuries
- Wearing a hard hat is crucial
Oily and slippery patches are prevalent on oil rigs, increasing the risk of falls.
Oil rig employees work long hours. Typical shifts range from eight to 12 hours and for between seven and 14 continuous days. Under these conditions, you could easily suffer from fatigue, which compromises your reaction time and ability to concentrate. Any level of fatigue increases the chances of you making errors that could have devastating consequences.
How will you cope with an on-the-job injury?
If you suffer a serious work-related injury, you might have questions about your legal options to recover damages. Answers could be obtained by consulting with an attorney who has experience in fighting for the rights of injured workers to receive compensation. Workers' compensation is not mandatory in Texas, and a civil lawsuit might be a viable option. A lawyer can provide the necessary guidance and support throughout ensuing legal proceedings.