US oil & gas workers' fatality rate 8 times above occupational average
Texas work injury lawyers point out that as the efforts to extract domestic oil and gas have grown, so have oil and gas extraction workers' injury and death rates from on the job accidents. In the rush to ease our dependence on foreign oil, the industry seems to have overlooked necessary safety precautions.
The alarming rise in recent years of injuries and fatalities at drilling and well sites has captured the attention of federal regulators and the industry. The number of fatal oil and gas extraction accidents in Texas rose from 35 to a peak of 49 in 2007. That number stood at 45 in 2010.
Nationwide, almost 650 workers were killed in the oil and gas extraction industry between 2003 and 2008. That number puts these workers at 8 times the risk of on-the-job fatalities compared to the national occupational average. In the Eagle Ford shale alone, 7 workers died in 2011, a number up from 3 in 2010.
A group called NORA (National Occupational Research Agenda) has begun to take a hard look at the oil and gas extraction industry to try and discover the cause for the high fatality rate and a means of preventing the on the job injuries and fatalities. Our Texas work injury lawyers mention that some of the apparent causes of the high on-the-job accident rate in the industry include:
- A culture that emphasizes getting the job done quickly at whatever the cost;
- The use of many new workers on the job as opposed to seasoned "roughnecks" as the industry expands;
- The opening of older, previously "mothballed" rigs that don't have current safety features;
- Drilling operations that run 24/7 in all weather conditions often for weeks at a time;
- The prevalent use of heavy tools and equipment to move heavy pipes and parts;
- Small companies that can't afford the costs of better health and safety programs; and
- The high pressure in wells that can result in heavy components and equipment being hurled with high force into workers.
The South Texas Exploration and Production Safety (STEPS) network has taken on the task of getting Texas oil and gas extraction companies to be more proactive about worker safety. STEPS works to bring South Texas oil extraction companies and their workers together monthly with OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to explore safety concerns and solutions. An article on the StateImpact Texas website indicates that these efforts might be working. But our Texas work injury lawyers feel that much remains to be done in an industry that prides itself on worker toughness and a "get it done" approach to the job.
If you've suffered an on the job injury or you've lost a loved one to a work accident, you might be wondering what you can do to obtain economic compensation to help meet your financial burdens following the accident. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation. During your initial legal consultation, our experienced Texas work injury lawyers will work with you to identify all the causes of the accident and the liable parties from whom you can demand just compensation. Don't let the industry dismiss your claims for the harm you've suffered. Contact us today, and get the aggressive legal help you need to protect your rights.
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