How to Protect Yourself from the Most Common Oilfield Injuries

Did you know that the upstream oil and gas industry has one of the highest rates of severe injuries?

No wonder those working in the oilfield want to take extra caution when they're out on the job.

Oil workers perform under some of the toughest conditions of any profession.

When oilfield injuries happen, you should know what laws are in place to protect you.

How to Protect Yourself from the Most Common Oilfield Injuries

Oilfield workers have to produce as much as possible quickly. This tends to sacrifice being careful due to production requirements. Sometimes oilfield workers are not trained on safety precautions when operating heavy machinery, handling hazardous materials or using certain tools needed for the job.

Oilfield Injuries can be avoided if you have knowledge of the most common types of injuries.

Machine Related Injuries

Oilfield workers use hazardous equipment and heavy machinery. If they're not trained there can be injuries, trauma, crashing, or being crushed. Workers operating these machines and this equipment should be trained before even picking up a machine. 

OSHA has regulations in place to minimize these types of injuries. They have specific guidelines for checking equipment at certain times and guidelines to make sure that employees have proper safety gear on.

Some of the machines are loud which can cause hearing loss or balance loss when the inner ear is disturbed. There are OSHA regulations for this too such as wearing earplugs and gloves.

Make sure you follow the guidelines that are set by OSHA and also get enough sleep. Long shifts and little sleep can end up in a disaster situation. You can suffer from a crush injury or even a fatal accident if you're tired.

Driving

Believe it or not one of the most dangerous jobs in the oil industry is driving. Workers are having fatal accidents on the highway due to lack of sleep. 

Timothy Roth is a perfect example of this type of tragic accident. He left work after a 17-hour shift with three of his coworkers on their 4-hour commute back home. When they were ten minutes away from home the driver fell asleep and crashed the vehicle.

Oil workers pull long shifts away from their homes with no sleep. Unlike truck drivers that have regulations to keep them from working long shifts. As an oilfield worker, you need to make sure you sleep before driving home if they have a long commute back.

Falling Objects

The most common type of oilfield accident is being struck by falling objects. There have been accidents where work rigs have fallen or decks have collapsed. Equipment sometimes is not secured or it's used incorrectly and it falls on a worker.

Make sure your company is training you on how to use the equipment because they are required to follow OSHA's regulations and guidelines. If you're not sure how to use a specific machine or have forgotten how to make sure you ask before putting yourself or anyone else around you at risk.

Slip and Fall

This is another common type of injury for oilfield workers. Some have reported to slip and fall off equipment and others have reported slipping and falling off the rig. You have to make sure the area you are working at has been cleaned up if there has been a spill.

Make sure you're being responsible for keeping your work area safe and clean. Keep the walkways clear to avoid tripping hazards.

Whenever appropriate make sure there's fall protection in place. Fall protection can consist of handrails, grating, or guardrails.

Chemical Exposure

As an oilfield worker, you can come into contact with harmful substances such as:

  • Crude Oil

  • Production chemicals

  • Solvents

  • Drilling fluids

Make sure you wear proper body protection and respiratory masks when working on the rig and in the refinery. When you're drilling it can release poisonous chemicals into the work area. Usually, it's hydrofluoric acid which can scar the lungs and sometimes causes death by asphyxiation.

The poison is so strong it can go through the skin and react with the calcium in your body found deep inside your bones. This will cause terrible side effects.

Prolonged exposure to chemicals can lead to paralysis, brain injury, respiratory problems and certain kinds of cancers such as leukemia.

Fires

Another common injury oilfield workers deal with is a sudden fire. The oil is filled with highly combustible gas which can explode with no warning. In case of a sudden fire, workers need to have a fire prevention plan in place and take all steps necessary to avoid a fire.

OSHA Recommendations

They have a few things in place to help reduce injuries. OSHA recommends the following:

  • Worker training programs for safety

  • Active chemical monitoring

  • Head protection

  • Eye protection

  • Respiratory protection

  • Face protection

  • Implement regular comprehensive inspections

  • Implement regular maintenance plans

  • Use safety control devices (tripwires, two-handed controls)

  • Use barriers (protective shields, gates)

What If You're a Victim of an Injury?

Even with processes in place accidents, injuries, and fatalities are still common in the oilfield industry. If you're ever a victim of an oil rig accident you'll want to contact an experienced lawyer that understand the unique laws in this case. Skilled attorneys are able to handle oil rig accidents and injuries. 

The laws and regulations are complex when it comes to the oilfield industry. The right lawyer will work on your behalf to make sure that you or your loved one are awarded the compensation you deserve.

Stay Safe While Working

Make sure that you're on top of keeping yourself and your work area clean to lessen the chances of any oilfield injuries. Follow all the training provided by your employer and wear your protective gear to avoid accidents. Make sure you also get enough rest after your shift and don't drive if you're too tired.

If you have suffered an oilfield injury or know someone that has been in an accident please contact our firm to have the best lawyer on your side.


Jake Steven