Every year, about one out of every 100 workers in the oil and gas industry will suffer a work-related injury, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on those statistics, the oil and gas industry ranks up there with the construction and transportation industries among the most dangerous in the country. And like most other workplace injuries, those suffered by workers in the oil and gas industry can actually be prevented. In fact, many can be prevented by the workers themselves, simply by taking a few basic safety precautions.
There are numerous hazards present in all aspects of the oil and gas industry. Besides constantly changing weather conditions, from intense heat to ice, workers work closely with numerous hazardous chemicals and a lot of heavy machinery.
The most common causes of oil and gas industry injuries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
- Vehicle accidents, usually involving oil and gas transport
- Collapsing rigs
- Blowouts and explosions in wells or tanks or wells
- Defective equipment and tools or the improper maintenance of such
- Machinery and equipment that is unsecured and crushes or traps workers
- Unsecured tools and other objects and debris that falls onto workers
- Inadequate guards or guardrails
- Not having the proper safety equipment readily available at the workplace
- Slips, trips, and falls, especially due to improper maintenance on rigs and decks
- Unprotected exposure to toxic chemicals
- Improper or inadequate worker training
It is always important for oil and gas workers to be aware of the potential hazards present throughout the workplace, because only by being aware of these risks can workers truly prevent injuries. The best way to avoid and prevent workplace injuries is to develop good safety habits while on the job. Here are some things that all workers can do to keep themselves and others safe at the worksite and prevent accidents.
Steps workers can take to protect themselves from some of the conditions caused by workplace negligence:
- Always wear appropriate protective gear on the job at all times, including either eye mask or safety goggles, a hardhat, sturdy boots with a slip-resistant sole, long pants and long-sleeve shirts and protective gloves.
- Get into the habit of clearing debris every time you see it and not waiting for someone else to do it. Secure all tools and materials whenever possible; leaving tools and debris out in the open is a sure way to cause your coworkers to slip, trip and/or fall.
- Report any and all accidents and unsafe conditions that you spot to a supervisor or manager as soon as possible, so that they can be addressed immediately and prevent you or your coworkers from being injured.
- Always take part in any safety training programs offered by your employer and follow every safety procedure and policy established for your workplace. Keep in mind, these types of policies are developed by safety organizations such as OSHA and committees that study best practices, precisely because they’re responding to past oil and gas industry accidents and they’re looking to protect you from any further accidents.
- Make yourself aware of the training required to operate certain machinery, equipment and tools and don’t use anything for which you have not been properly trained. If someone asks you to, refuse. Just as importantly, if you know that a coworker has not been trained to operate a machine or a piece of equipment, don’t allow them to use it either. Use of equipment without proper training puts everyone at the workplace at risk.
The bottom line on all of this is, the best way to avoid accidents and injuries in the oil and gas industry is by always keeping safety foremost in your mind and by being aware of potential hazards and risks and making sure that you and everyone around you is doing everything possible to minimize those hazards and risks.
Texas is a state with a strong presence in the oil and gas industry, and too many workers in that industry have been injured or lost their lives working hard to create profits for their employers. Too often, workers are asked to cut corners on safety to improve the bottom line, which places the lives of oil and gas workers at unnecessary risk. If the worker is injured, even if they’ve taken all possible precautions, in many cases it may be due to negligence on the part of the employer or a coworker, and they could be due compensation for the injuries they suffer.
Workplace Injury Lawyers in Corpus Christi
In some cases, the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier may not be providing an injured worker with sufficient compensation, or they may have grounds for a legal claim against the negligent party that is not the employer. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident at a workplace in the oil and gas industry, you should contact the Oil and Gas Injury Attorneys at the Gutierrez Law Firm as soon as possible, so that we can launch an investigation and find out what legal options you have.