A report published by The Center for Public Integrity in December 2018 highlighted how at least 1,566 oil field workers died on the job between 2008 and 2017. In case you’re wondering what resulted in their deaths, you need only to look as far as the more than 10,873 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations that have been filed against companies involved in this industry. Many have horrible safety records.
OSHA records show that at least 64% of the OSHA citations that were issued to oil and gas companies between 2008 and 2018 were for serious hazards. These types of safety breaches were so serious that they could have resulted in workers’ serious physical harm or death.
At least 3% of the citations during those 10 years were for repeated hazards. The companies that employed the oil field workers purposely turned a blind eye to employee safety by repeatedly violating the same regulations.
The 2018 report showed that there’s been a steady increase in worker illnesses, injuries and deaths in recent years. It’s especially noticeable in the production and exploration sectors in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. At least 489, or half of the nation’s oil rigs, are in the latter region.
Many oil and gas companies have grown their employee base in recent years. Most of the new workers that they have hired are support staff. They hired 2,400 individuals in 2018. The workforce in this field has increased by 50,000 since 2010. The most popular roles in recent years have been rotary drill and derrick operator ones. More than 170,600 are currently employed in that sector. Some of the greatest threats that these workers face include being exposed to cancer-causing and explosive gasses or crushed by machinery.
Many oil and gas companies that do get caught violating OSHA regulations end up being assessed fines. Many negotiate and have what they owe waived or significantly reduced. These companies continue to put their workers in risky situations because they know that nothing serious will happen to them if they get hurt or killed.
This doesn’t mean that an attorney here in San Antonio can’t aid you in filing a lawsuit here in Texas though. Your lawyer can hold your employer accountable for their negligence, even when OSHA has turned a blind eye to what’s happened.