Dropped objects pose deadly hazards to oil and drilling workers

With the many other hazards on the Texas oil fields, the risks that dropped objects pose may not receive enough attention. Work activities on multiple levels are par for the course on drilling sites, and those who work at lower elevations are often the victims of dropped-object injuries. Even small objects like nuts or bolts can be deadly missiles if dropped from high work platforms.

Dropped objects could include equipment and tools or materials mishandled or dropped by workers or left lying around at shift changes or the completion of tasks. They can also be parts or equipment that become detached from their mountings on overhead equipment.

Potential consequences

The fact that some dropped-object injuries cause light or minor injuries should not make you lose sight of the potential of fatal injuries. You might need only first aid treatment, or your medical treatment may not be extensive enough to cause you to lose workdays, transfer jobs or receive restricted duties. However, it could be significantly worse, and major or even fatal injuries can result if you suffer significant trauma.

Danger areas

Safety authorities point out some of the typical dropped-object hazards in the oil and gas industry. They include the following:

  • Working below elevated platforms or work areas such as the drill floor, rig derricks, scaffolding and ladders is risky, especially if you do not wear head protection.
  • Poorly stacked materials and pipe racks pose significant struck-by hazards.
  • Moving about below any areas where lifting operations take place can put your life on the line. These include cranes, barges or vessels, lift trucks, mounted overhead equipment, portable or temporary platforms, and remotely operated vehicles.

Every drill site is different and poses unique hazards. If you take note of the known risks, you might learn to look out for additional dangers and establish your own precautions to stay safe.

Steps you can take to mitigate hazards

Along with obvious risks, you might benefit from looking out for changing weather conditions that could elevate the dangers or cause even more risks. Attending all safety training sessions could prevent complacency, which is a significant hazard. It also might be a good idea to go on hazard hunts and report any incidents or conditions with dropped-object risks.

How to deal with the financial consequences of oil field injuries

If a dropped object caused head trauma or any other injury that led to lost workdays and mounting medical bills, it could jeopardize your ability to care for your family. Dealing with the complexities of workers' compensation claims can exacerbate the anxiety. This is not a battle you need to fight on your own because an experienced workers' compensation attorney can navigate the claims process on your behalf, allowing you to recover and get back to work.

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