The Texas Permian Basin, currently one of the most productive oil fields in the world, is also one of the most accident-prone regions in the oil and gas industry. In 2014, Texas had the most oil and gas-related fatalities in the nation, the majority of which occurred in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale regions (see page 9).
The prosperous oil market and its accompanying accidents have continued into 2019 as well. Last month, a pipe separation explosion injured two Texas oil field workers, both of whom were hospitalized. Some accidents make the news; others don’t. Hidden from view is the removed culture of rural oil field and gas work as Texans enjoy lower gas prices at the pump. However, the industry is just as profitable and dangerous as ever. At Wyatt Law Firm, we understand that these accidents do more than just make the news – they change lives, even end them.
The oil and gas working environment resembles the historic Gold Rush in some ways. Jobs spring up alongside new oil wells. Swift business creates sudden labor shortages for drilling, servicing for wells and pipelines, refinery work, trucking, and all kinds of jobs in between. Many of these jobs pay very well for a season, galvanizing workers to make as much as possible while the boom lasts.
Serious issues have arisen from the surge of workers and rapid growth, however. Many drilling sites run continuous operations with odd shifts that pay hourly, incentivizing some to work more than 70 hours a week. The issue of worker fatigue has been magnified by the astonishing rates of fatal accidents – many from oil trucking – in the Permian Basin. Additionally, the Midland-Odessa region in the Permian Basin has some of the highest DUI rates in the state, and drug and alcohol abuse rates are significantly higher than those of the general population in other parts of Texas. Although these concerns draw national criticism, there is no denying that the oil and gas industry has jump-started the Texas economy and national economy. For now, the boom is here to stay, so ensuring the safety of oil and gas workers is paramount.
Oil and gas work, while profitable, is some of the most dangerous work out there. Even with safety regulations and requirements, severe injuries and fatalities still happen. Employees work with heavy equipment, moving machinery, hazardous materials, and hydrocarbons. Some of the most common accidents include motor vehicle crashes on and off drilling sites, contact injuries such as “caught-between” and “struck-by” accidents, falls, combustion and pressure explosions, exposure to toxic substances, and electrocution (see page 11). Chief causes for accidents include malfunctioning and improperly maintained equipment, operator errors, and failure to take necessary safety precautions.
Oil field work is inherently dangerous, but its high rates of accident are inordinate. The environment is one that understandably stimulates both overworking and haste, and some are willing to cut corners for the sake of profit. However, such shortcuts are inexcusable. Rules and safety regulations exist to prevent accidents and fatalities, but they are useless if not followed.
If you have been injured or you have lost a loved one in an oil field accident, call Wyatt Law Firm today at 210-255-2231. You can speak with our experienced attorneys for a free case review or submit a confidential contact form via our website. Our personal injury and oil field accident attorneys have handled oil field compensation cases for years. We care about our clients and fight for maximum compensation. Let us fight for you.