Although the oil and gas industry in Texas has comprehensive safety programs, it remains one of the most dangerous sectors nationwide. Oilfield accidents often involve processes involving flammable chemicals, powerful equipment and high pressure. Many of these accidents result in severe injuries or even deaths.
Safety authorities say the most significant threats to rig workers’ safety include human error, employee culture, negligence and recklessness. Furthermore, miscommunication leads to many accidents, and lack of personal protective equipment and equipment misuse is often cited on accident reports. Most oilfield accidents are preventable by compliance with prescribed safety standards.
The top five causes of work-related deaths from 2003 through 2015 include transportation accidents and contact injury fatalities. Third on the list is fires and explosions. These are followed by harmful environmental exposure. Number five on the list is fatal falls. All of these are preventable, and adequate safety training could go a long way in preventing work-related deaths in the oil and gas industry.
In most circumstances, injured workers in Texas can pursue financial relief. Similarly, the surviving family members of workers who succumbed to injuries suffered in oilfield accidents may be eligible for death benefits through the workers’ compensation insurance program. Compensation should include medical expenses and lost wages, and for deceased workers, the families usually receive benefits to cover end-of-life expenses.
Dealing with the administrative and legal proceedings could be daunting, especially since Texas employers are not required to buy workers’ comp insurance. For that reason, the support and guidance of an attorney are crucial. Legal counsel with experience fighting for maximum benefits for injured workers of surviving families can simplify the navigation of the benefits claims process or, in the alternative, explore other options for legal recourse.