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Diesel exhaust fumes can cause oilfield workplace accidents

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently reminded employers in the oil and gas industry nationwide, including Texas, about the potential consequences of diesel exhaust exposure. Along with the health problems posed by the diesel particulate matter (DPM) contents of the diesel exhaust fumes come the risks of workplace accidents. The short-term effects of such exposure could be distractive enough to jeopardize the abilities of workers involved in tasks that require precision.

Authorities say high concentrations of DPM are present wherever compressors, generators, earth-moving equipment and trucks are used. Exposure causes dizziness and headaches along with nose, throat and eye irritations that can be disabling. Prolonged exposure to DPM can cause respiratory, cardiopulmonary and cardiovascular disease, and it might even lead to lung cancer.

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no specific permissible exposure limits for DPM in the oil and gas industry, authorities advise employers to use engineering controls to limit exposure. One of the suggestions is routine maintenance of diesel engines as a method to limit emissions. Furthermore, suggested administrative controls include eliminating hazards by changing the way workers perform tasks.

Victims of workplace accidents in the Texas oil and gas industry and those who develop life-threatening occupational diseases are entitled to seek financial assistance to cover medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages. Many workers choose to utilize the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to navigate the benefits claims for them. This not only allows them to focus on recovering and getting back to work, but also gives them a better chance of obtaining maximum benefits.

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