Texas is one of the largest oil and gas industry states in the U.S. Yet, positions in this field can be very dangerous.
Between 2008 and 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found 10,873 safety violations. 64% of those were diagnosed as “serious,” meaning that they result in death or serious harm. There were also 552 accidents investigated by OSHA that resulted in the death of at least one person. OSHA leaders suspect that most oil field injuries are simply unreported.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the accidents in the oil and gas extraction industry that are most likely to be fatal. In the last year reported, 2017, the numbers were:
- Transportation incidents, including pipelines, rails or barges: 45
- Contact with objects and equipment, including falling or unsecured objects: 15
- Fire and explosion due to the flammable materials: 10
- Exposure to harmful substances or hazardous environments, amplified by lack of protective gear: 5
- Fall, slip and trip, possibly due to a lack of care, poor facility maintenance or unsafe machinery: 4
Other years have also reported deaths related to injury from violence by people or animals. Though the fatal injury rates can significantly change every year, 2017 grew by 29% from the previous year. Many of these risk factors in oil fields are amplified by insufficient training, improper cautionary actions and substance abuse on the job.
Working on an oil field can be very dangerous. With so many large pieces of machinery and moving parts, it’s easy for things to go wrong. It’s also such a physical job that even if everything goes right with the equipment, it’s easy for workers to injure themselves.