Drilling for oil and gas in Texas is a big business industry that can affect the livelihood of many people for decades. South Texas in particular has undergone a recent economic boom on account of the rich deposits of oil and gas on the Eagle Ford Shale – a 400 by 50 mile oil and gas producing mega-site that covers more than a dozen Texas counties.
Consequently, demand to extract those natural resources is high, with some drill sites producing more than 1,000 barrels per day.
The high demands for drilling South Texas oil and gas falls on the shoulders of oilfield workers. Drilling is dangerous work that can result in serious oilfield injuries and deaths. Common factors that contribute to worker injuries or deaths on gas and oil drilling sites include the following:
- Explosions or fires
- Blowouts of gas or oil wells
- Heavy equipment
- Flying shrapnel or debris
- Heavy steel cables that snap loose
- Toxic gases like hydrogen sulfide
- Poor equipment maintenance
- Untrained workers
- Improper or overlooked safety standards
As oil and gas drilling efforts have increased in South Texas, there has been a corresponding increase in the number injuries and deaths. According to government statistics, there were a total of 45 oilfield deaths that occurred throughout all of Texas in 2010, and in 2011 there were seven deaths in South Texas alone.