The oil and gas industry has long been the cornerstone of the Texas economy. If you have worked in this industry all your life, it is possible that your parents and grandparents also had jobs related to energy. It is also quite likely that you or someone you know has suffered an injury on the job.
While the industry praises itself for its commitment to safety, you may have cause to disagree with this self-assessment if you work in an oil field or any other aspect of the industry. In fact, some data indicates oil and gas is the industry with the highest rate of severe injuries, and the two oil-field services companies with the highest rate of serious injuries are located right here in Texas.
Danger on the job
There is good reason for oil and gas companies to hold themselves up as models for safety. That is because until recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did not require them to report anything but catastrophic accidents. In other words, unless three or more workers were injured badly enough to need hospitalization, no one needed to know. In fact, you may have heard of the strange reputation oil and gas had for being the industry with a very low rate of injuries and a high rate of fatalities.
This changed in 2015 when OSHA began to require reports for any severe accident, meaning those in which an employee suffered an amputation or needed hospitalization. If your duties working in oil or gas operations include doing support activities, you are most vulnerable to severe injuries. The most common injuries to which you are susceptible in your job include the following:
- Amputation of fingers or other body parts in moving equipment
- Fractures, especially to the legs
- Injuries from falling
- Injuries from being struck by objects
- Burns from fires and explosions
For whatever reason, the culture in the industry in which you work includes not reporting injuries on the job. In fact, some estimate that over 60 percent of workplace injuries in the oil and gas industry go unreported. However, this underreporting has allowed the oil and gas industry to avoid mention on lists of highly hazardous employers. Unfortunately, this also may mean workers like you are not receiving compensation for their medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
If you have suffered an injury due while working in the oil industry, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. If the injury was the result of a safety violation or negligence by someone not employed by your company, you may also be eligible for additional compensation via a third-party claim.
Following an accident, speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.