The Most Common Accidents on Oil Rigs

The Most Common Accidents on Oil Rigs Texas is one of the largest oil and gas industry states in the U.S. While careers in this industry can be lucrative, oil rigs and oilfields often endanger the individuals who work there.  Between 2008 and 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found 10,873 safety violations. 64% of those were diagnosed as “serious,” meaning they resulted 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. Risks include the potential for hazardous or defective equipment, poisonous gases onsite, and slip-and-falls. Workers who suffered injuries in the oil field might sustain spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, head injuries, and muscular contusions, among others. Any of these injuries can result in a significant amount of expensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. If you’ve been injured by an oil rig accident, a knowledgeable and experienced oil rig accident lawyer can assist you with every aspect of your claim.  Our legal team can begin to gather your medical bills, medical records, and other documentation to submit a claim to the insurance company. We can then work to negotiate a good settlement offer on your behalf and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in the court system and help you litigate your claim to a proper conclusion. 

Common Oilfield Accidents and Why They Happen

Chemical Injuries

Chemical burn injuries can also happen on oil rigs and in oilfields. Workers are prone to burn injuries because of the high temperatures and the dangerous chemicals that companies commonly use. If a worker suffers a serious burn injury, there might be subsequent scarring, which may cause lifelong emotional anguish or require sustained treatments.  Injuries involving poisonous gases can also occur in oilfields. Some chemicals that oil worksites use, including hydrogen sulfide, are both odorless and colorless. Therefore, the worker can have exposure to these chemicals and not even know it. Whenever an oilfield worker has exposure to poisonous gas, he or she might experience vomiting, nausea, and pain. In addition, these chemicals can cause a worker to fall unconscious, leading to further injury. 

Slip and Fall

Many hazardous and slippery surfaces are present in oilfields and on oil rigs. At times, adverse weather conditions can exacerbate these hazards. Consequently, slip-and-fall accidents are unfortunately all too common. If a worker slips and falls from a high place and strikes the ground directly, he or she can suffer a traumatic brain injury, muscular strains, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, and broken bones Slips and falls may happen when the work area gets inadequate maintenance for the safety and benefit of the workers. In these cases, those responsible for maintaining the equipment and workplace are responsible for such accidents. 

Electrocution and Burns

Electrocution or electrical injuries can also happen on oil rigs or in oilfields. Electricity plays an important role in this industry to power various types of equipment. A worker in an electrical accident can suffer a head injury, become unconscious, or suffer one or more serious burns to his/her body. Electrical accidents can also result in lasting cardiac damage. These accidents can often prove fatal. 

Oil Field Explosion

Oil is a naturally volatile substance that can easily lead to dangerous conditions, such as fire and explosion. One such incident occurred at the Piper Alpha disaster. The offshore drilling rig off the coast of Scotland experienced a gas leak that resulted in a platform explosion. The incident resulted in the deaths of 167 people, including two rescue workers, and is considered one of the worst offshore oil disasters in history. These types of accidents can happen because of dangerous chemicals at high heat that companies commonly use in the industry. When a worker is in an explosion or a fire at the oilfield, they can suffer nerve damage, head injuries, as well as severe burns.

Collapsed Oil Rigs

Oilfield and oil rig equipment is heavy and large, and when the equipment malfunctions, the worker can suffer severe and sometimes fatal injuries. For example, the worker can suffer one or more broken bones, crushed limbs, or severed limbs in an equipment malfunction accident. This is especially true if the worker is located high off the ground, such as in the case of a jack-up or semi-submersible rig. These accidents may occur because of haphazard construction techniques or when the rig is otherwise unstable due to poor construction. An oil rig collapse can cause neck and back injuries, damaged limbs, traumatic head injuries, and bone fractures. A person who survives an oil rig collapse might suffer one or more paralysis injuries that can limit his/her mobility for the rest of the worker’s life.

Defective Equipment

Finally, injuries in oil fields can involve defective machinery and equipment. Oilfield workers often have to work around this equipment when they are performing their job duties every day. However, when the equipment does not receive proper maintenance at regular intervals or when the equipment is out of date or improperly manufactured, serious injuries can happen while on the job. A prominent example of how defective equipment can contribute to the hazards of oil rigs is the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. This event was one of the most catastrophic offshore oil rig accidents of all time and resulted in billions of dollars of compensation for the damages. In addition to many other factors, a faulty safety valve, as well as design flaws in the well, were to blame for the widespread havoc that occurred on this offshore platform. 

Wrongful Death

Any of the above accidents have the potential to result in fatal injuries. If you’ve lost a spouse or family member to an untimely oil rig accident, don’t hesitate to contact a wrongful death attorney. You may be able to obtain compensation to cover your loved one’s end-of-life expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more. 

What To Do if You’re Injured as an Oil Field Worker

Seek Prompt Medical Attention

If you suffered any of these injuries while working in an oilfield or on a rig, you should first seek immediate medical care and treatment for your injuries in a hospital emergency room. If possible, you should seek initial medical treatment on the same date as your oilfield accident. The emergency room personnel will assess your condition and take the necessary X-rays, MRIs, and other imaging studies, to determine what, if any, additional treatment you need.  In addition, the doctor on duty can prescribe medication and recommend future care, such as following up with an orthopedic or family doctor. Moreover, if you require additional medical treatment, a hospital medical provider can make the necessary referrals. For example, if broke a bone, you may need to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon to perform a surgical repair. In addition, you might need to follow up with a family doctor or with a physical therapist or chiropractor, depending upon the injury or injuries that you suffered in your oilfield accident.

Follow Up With Your Healthcare Provider

One of the biggest mistakes of work injury victims is failing to seek prompt medical treatment after their accident.  After you seek the necessary initial medical treatment for your injuries, follow through with all the doctor’s treatment recommendations. When an insurance company sees that you did not seek prompt medical treatment after your accident, or if you did not treat continuously for your injuries, the adjuster will assume that you were not taking your medical treatment seriously. Or, they may believe that you did not suffer serious enough injuries in the accident to warrant significant monetary compensation.  Any of these actions can have negative repercussions for your workers’ compensation or your third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Get the Legal Help You Need to Recover Financially

The good thing about having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on board in your case is that your lawyer can begin advocating for you even while you are finishing your treatment.  The experienced San Antonio oilfield accident lawyers at the Wyatt Law Firm can start gathering your medical records, bills, and other documentation while you finish training for your injuries. Our legal team can assemble all this documentation into a demand package to present to the insurance company for a possible settlement. While we handle the legal aspects of your oilfield injury claim, you can focus your attention on the most important task at that time: getting better and recovering from your injuries. Our legal team will give you the peace of mind that we are handling every aspect of your claim and zealously advocating for your interests.  Accidents on oil rigs can leave lasting physical damage that requires vast resources to care for. If you’ve been injured, contact a San Antonio oilfield injury lawyer today to learn more about your options for recovery.


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