Those who work in the oil and gas extraction field are required to work around equipment and in environments that can be extremely dangerous and serve as a threat to their safety. Between 2003 to 2010, approximately 823 workers employed in the oil and gas extraction field were killed on the job [Source: Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA)]. The fact is, there are a number of safety hazards present in this work field that make workers employed in it susceptible to sustaining an injury or worse, being killed. OSHA has highlighted several of these hazards, some of which are highlighted below.
- Explosions and Fires.
Because those who work on a drilling rig are often exposed to flammable vapors and gases, there is always the risk that a fire or explosion could occur, especially if certain safety measures are not being taken. OSHA states that fires and explosions often occur when “flammable gases, such as well gases, vapors, and hydrogen sulfide, [are] released from wells, trucks, production equipment or surface equipment such as tanks and shale shakers are exposed to ignition sources. Ignition sources might include “static, electrical energy sources, open flames, lightning, cigarettes, cutting and welding tools, hot surfaces, and frictional heat.”
Depending on how serious a fire or explosion is, it could result in a worker suffering mild to severe burns that could result in permanent scarring or disfigurement. If you or someone you know suffered an injury as a result of a fire or explosion on an oil rig in LA, it is important you connect with a New Orleans, LA drilling rig accident attorneywho can help you recover compensation as a form of relief for your pain and suffering.
- Confined spaces.
According to OSHA, workers in the oil and gas field are often required to enter confined spaces including, but not limited to:
- Petroleum and other storage tanks
- Mud pits
- Reserve pits
- Other excavated areas
- Sand storage containers
When working in such areas, there is a chance that the employee could be exposed to flammable vapors or gases which could cause a fire or explosion, or they could suffer from “asphyxiation and/or exposure to hazardous chemicals.”
- Machine Hazards
When working on an oil rig, extraction workers are often required to work on and around certain types of equipment that pose as a threat to their safety. According to OSHA, the following types of equipment can cause a worker to suffer a serious and sometimes even fatal injury when not being operated properly or left “unguarded”:
- Top drives and Kelly drives
- Hoist blocks
- Belt wheels
There have been instances where drilling rig workers have been struck or have gotten caught in between unguarded machines which has resulted in them suffering severe injuries.If you suffered an injury while operating dangerous machinery or a loved one of yours was killed, again, it is essential that you consult with a drilling rig accident lawyer as soon as possible who can help guide you in the direction of receiving the compensation you need and deserve.
- Struck By/Caught-In/Caught-Between
Oil and gas extraction employees work around moving vehicles, equipment, high-pressure lines, etc. all of which can malfunction or become dangerous when not being used or handled properly. There have been accidents involving workers who have gotten caught in between a moving vehicle and an area within their work environment simply because someone wasn’t paying attention. There have also been cases where equipment has malfunctioned, whether it was because of a defect or an unidentified cause, that has also led to workers suffering injuries.
Although there are various hazards present in the oil and gas extraction industry, these types of incidents seem to be the most common cause of fatalities. OSHA highlighted that “three of every five on-site fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry are the result of struck-by/caught -in/caught-between hazards.”
- High-Pressure Lines and Equipment
Working around hire-pressure lines is yet another hazard oil and gas extraction workers are exposed to. Sometimes, these lines erode internally which results in it bursting and potentially exposing a worker to hazardous gases. Other times, if the connections made to secure these high-pressure lines fail, OSHA says that it could cause a worker to become struck by the line.
As mentioned above, if you or a loved one was harmed or killed in a drilling rig accident in New Orleans and you are now in need of monetary relief for the damages the incident has caused, you will want to contact a lawyer right away. The lawyers at Stag Liuzza, LLC are some of the top litigators in New Orleans who have extensive experience in representing victims of drilling rig incidents. To learn more about this firm or schedule an initial consultation, contact them now by calling 504-593-9600.
Stag Liuzza, LLC is located at:
One Canal Place
365 Canal Street, Suite 2850
New Orleans, LA 70130