Danger in the oilfields doesn’t start when the drillbit hits the dirt. Hazards arrive on the well pad as soon as the set-up crews do.
Rigging up is the drilling rig assembly process, which includes building the substructure; erecting the mast or lifting the derrick; installing power generation, fluid filtration, and pumping systems; and planting a village of other various structures. Rigging down reverses the process, encompassing rig deconstruction until the only evidence of a previous wellsite is a pump configuration jutting from the earth.
Unfortunately, serious injuries and fatalities happen every year during rig construction and deconstruction. Here are some of the most common rigging hazards:
- Vehicle accidents. Workers risk being struck by or run over trucks, forklifts, and other heavy-duty construction vehicles.
- Falls from 4’+. The risk of falling from dangerous heights also attends the rigging process, especially for workers on the rig floor, derrick, or catwalk. Workers can fall from spaces where guardrails and other fall protection is not yet installed, or they can fall if they don’t use a PFAS (personal fall arrest system).
- Trips, slips, and falls. Holes, mud pits and trenches, slick surfaces, missing steps, and lines and cables can cause workers to trip, slip, or fall.
- Electrocution. The high voltage power generation systems and site’s miscellaneous electrical connections pose the danger of electric shock or electrocution.
- Contact injuries. Struck-by accidents from moving equipment or falling tools occur, as do caught-between and pinching accidents that crush or amputate body parts.
- Drowning. People have drowned in mud pits before, so workers must exercise caution while working around them.
- Catastrophic failures. Other catastrophic accidents including derrick collapses, chemical emergencies, and crane failure are always possible (and have happened) during rigging.
- Multiple parties. Oil and gas companies typically many hire independent contractors to complete the rig construction, and the very real hazard of overlapping operations adds to the construction hazards already present.
Companies must make potential hazards known, follow all regulatory safety procedures, and provide a safe work environment. Unfortunately, accidents still happen. Sometimes workplace injuries and deaths that happen could have been prevented with due diligence. We represent injured parties in the aftermath.
If you have been injured or your loved one has been killed in an oilfield accident or a construction accident, call the Wyatt Law Firm today. You may be entitled to more compensation than is offered by your employer.
Our award-winning attorneys have the expertise, experience, and determination needed to win, as demonstrated by our past successes litigating catastrophic oilfield and construction accidents. Call us today at 210-340-5550 for a free case review, or contact us from our website.
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