The United States used over 7.2 billion barrels of petroleum products in 2016 averaging about 20 million barrels a day, supporting a need for oil field workers in Texas. Data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health claims that a person working in the oil or gas industry is six times more likely to die on the job than any other American worker. Offshore workers are remote from emergency help if needed, increasing odds of more severe injuries or accidental death.
Texas law for personal injury claims are addressed in Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. 33.001and regarding oilfield work places in the Texas Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Statute TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE §§127.001 – 127.007. A legal professional will be able to assist you in navigating your way to a fair claim to your injury.
Working at an oil field is a dangerous job, but if proper safety precautions are addressed, it is not as risky of a work place as imagined, even if the minimum requirements of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specific to that occupation are met. If there are deviations from standard requirements, the outcomes can be disastrous for workers, and negligence is often the cause for work site accidents at oil fields including:1) gas pipeline explosions; 2) industrial vehicle accidents; 3) silica exposure; 4) other chemical exposures; and 5) collapsing rigs.
When a person’s actions, or omission to act, violate work place standards, the law requires the violating person to compensate the injured parties. Negligence is a “cause of action whereby a person’s conduct falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm” according to The Restatement (Second) of Torts.
Elements of Negligence for a Successful Law Suit.
- An owed duty of care between parties;
- a breach of duty;
- causal connection between the defendant’s conduct resulting in the harm;
- proximate cause;
- measurable damages due to defendant’s conduct.
Work Site Accidents.
Oil Field workers are exposed to many dangers utilizing the heavy machinery, working with large compression valves, toxic chemicals, and electrical components related to big rigging. Employers and site managers need to make sure work area safety standards are maintained. Supervisors and maintenance managers owe employees the duty of patrolling work areas regularly to make sure there are no deviations from safety standards, and to check for naturally-occurring dangers related to weather changes, or aging equipment. Deviation from work safety standards may cause accidents related to:
Electrocution – resulting from defective equipment, lack of communication, electrical components that are frayed or weather-worn, and power lines. Dangers of electrocution include cardiac arrest, muscle, nerve and tissue damage, thermal burns and organ damage. The severity of injury depends on the voltage, how long the body is subjected to it, and the person’s state of health at the time of the incident.
Gas Explosion Blast – Violent explosions can harm employees in a large area of a facility and injure persons who are even at distance from the initial blast site. Safety protocols and mandatory training are necessary. Dangers of gas pipeline explosions include: 1) severe burns; 2) lung damage from smoke inhalation; 3) brain injuries and bodily damage to collapse in rigging equipment; 4) hemorrhage from shock waves; and 5) wrongful death.
Falls – Incidents including 1) falling from heights such as an offshore outboard, 2) being hit by falling objects when things fall or are accidentally dropped they become missile-like, 3) traumatic brain injury or events that lead to falls from disorientation, and 4) fire and explosion blasts violently propelling workers to falls.
Toxic Chemical Exposure.
Some oil field injuries are not always detected right away. Toxic chemical exposure can take weeks to months and sometimes even years before it becomes apparent. Victims can suffer breathing problems, rashes, burns, develop cancer, or die. There have been cases where oil field workers have brought home traces of toxic chemicals on their clothes, making their families ill as well. If you suspect that toxic oil field chemical exposure may have resulted in your illness or the illness of a loved one, you may have an injury claim.
Loss of Life due to Accident.
Oil field accidents in those categories referenced above are generally catastrophic events that can cause severe and lasting detriment through injury to workers including illness, broken bones, burns, brain damage and wrongful death. Wrongful death proceedings are more involved and require the assistance of a legal professional.
Liability for Injuries Sustained.
Accidents can be the fault of one single worker, but often shortcomings in inspections and maintenance cause dangerous situations leading to accidents that result in lasting negative impacts to livelihood or death. Liability can fall on to: 1) companies, 2) supervisors, 3) equipment suppliers, 4) parts manufacturers, 5) parent company for failure to train workers, and 6) individuals working on site.
If you have been involved in an oil field accident in Midland, Texas, contacting a competent legal professional is not difficult when you reach out to the Cooper Law Firm, who has successfully handled and settled many oilfield injury cases with good results.
Cooper Law Firm
N. Eric Cooper
Mailing: P.O. Box 2222
Longview, TX 75606
Address: 501 N Third St,
Longview, TX 75601
Telephone ; (903) 297-0037
Toll-Free: 1-855-297-HURT (4878)
Facsimile: (903) 236-0035
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A cmt. b (Am. Law Inst. 1965). Citing to the Second Restatement and the comment to a specific section.