What is the leading cause of oil and gas worker deaths?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | Oil & GasWork Injuries |

Working in oil and gas can be an exciting and lucrative career decision. Engineers and other professionals may have to travel from extraction locations to refining locations as part of their work, allowing them to live in many exciting places. There are often unique and exciting challenges at every worksite that keeps the job fresh.

Oil and gas professionals can also count on receiving competitive wages. One of the reasons that oil and gas workers received good compensation is how demanding the job can be. They may have to work for many days straight and put in long hours, in addition to the travel often required by the job.

Another reason is that the work is also very risky. Oil and gas workers come into close contact with dangerous substances. They are at constant risk of getting hurt in a fire or explosion or of falling from an elevated place. What is the biggest risk for those who work in the oil and gas industry?

The leading cause of oil and gas fatalities may surprise you

Chemical exposure, fires and explosions often make for exciting news segments, which means that they dominate public perception of oil and gas job risks. However, the top cause of worker fatalities is more typical than most people might imagine.

In 2017, the most recent year with a federal analysis available, transportation played a role in 42% of all worker fatalities in oil and gas. Reports showed that 32% of worker fatalities occurred on roadways, while another 10% occurred at oil and gas worksites.

It’s also worth noting that Texas leads the country in oil and gas worker deaths. Of the 69 total deaths reported in 2017, 44 of them occurred right here in Texas. As in multiple other industries, transportation and proximity to vehicles is a leading risk for injury and death, beyond any industry-specific risk generated by machinery, chemicals or fires.

Working close to big vehicles and big machines can have a direct impact on a worker’s safety. Understanding job risk can help keep oil and gas workers safer on the job and motivate them to claim the workers’ compensation benefits they need if they do get hurt on the job.