In Texas, the oil business looms large in the state’s mythology. The statewide boom of fracking and drilling has given the industry more attention of late. But as we have previously pointed out, not all of that attention is for positive reasons. In spite of the focus on safety provided by the oil companies and government agencies, fatal accidents can still occur in Texas oil fields.
This problem is not new and in 1983 attempts were made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to address the issue. At that time, OSHA crafted a proposal that ended up exempting drilling companies from certain rules regarding explosion prevention, noise protection and machine safety.
The plan was to cover those issues in a rule book that was still pending at the time. But the proposal never came to fruition. As a result, drilling companies do not have to adhere to certain rules regarding worker protections.
According to a trainer with a safety network, the drilling companies are exempt from a “mind-boggling” number of safety standards. OSHA officials, both former and current, express the sentiment that these exemptions leave inspectors hamstrung when attempting to carry out their policing efforts.
The upshot is that those workers who put their backs into helping these companies reap such handsome profits are left vulnerable to catastrophic injuries. Those working in oil fields routinely risk exposure to poisonous gases, fire and explosions. The work environment may also require that they work with potentially dangerous heavy machinery and at great heights off the ground.
An employee injured in an oil field accident could find themselves fighting for fair compensation against a very powerful corporate adversary. If you ever suffer harm while working in an oil field, the services of a Texas personal injury lawyer could prove beneficial in seeking recompense.
Source: Environment & Energy Publishing, “Drilling’s safety exemptions and how they got there,” Mike Soraghan, Nov. 4, 2014