The oil and gas industry is known for being one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Despite significant improvements in safety measures and technologies over the years, oilfield workers are still at risk of serious – even catastrophic – injuries.
In any occupation, some injuries are more common than others. Here are some of the most prominent dangers oilfield workers face:
Burns and fires
Fires and explosions are a constant risk. Workers may sustain burns and other injuries as a result of coming into contact with hot pipes, machinery, or chemicals. Burns can range from minor to severe, and can cause long-term damage to the skin and underlying tissues.
Slips, trips and falls
Oil and gas drilling sites are often located in remote areas with challenging terrain. Workers are required to walk on uneven surfaces and climb ladders, increasing their risk of slips, trips and falls. These types of accidents can easily result in broken bones, head injuries and spinal cord damage.
Oilfield work is physically demanding, such as lifting heavy equipment and working in awkward positions for extended periods. These activities can cause musculoskeletal injuries, including strains, sprains and back injuries – and the cumulative effect can be disastrous.
Toxic chemicals, such as hydrogen sulfide, benzene and methanol, are in use all over oilfields. These chemicals can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation and other health issues, especially when workers suffer long-term exposure or lack appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Workers in the oil and gas industry often travel long distances to remote work sites, which increases their risk of transportation accidents. This includes accidents while driving company vehicles or while being transported to work sites by helicopters or boats.
From changeable weather conditions to the need to work with a significant amount of electrical equipment, electrocution is always a risk on an oilfield. Any electrocution has the potential to cause burns, brain damage, organ damage or death.
Regardless of the cause, an oilfield injury can lead to great physical and financial distress, and even destabilize whole families. If you’ve been injured or a loved one was killed, find out more about your legal options.