Oil and gas workers are seven times more likely to die on the job than workers in other industries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The work is labor-intensive and the conditions are a challenge.
Four out of 10 fatalities are related to transportation. For drivers, the main factors are long and irregular hours, the poor condition of secondary and unpaved roads, and bad weather. Employers should protect workers through safe driving programs, vehicle maintenance and by hiring employees with good driving records.
Contact injuries are the second-leading cause of fatalities because work conditions can change from minute-to-minute. Workers must be aware of their surroundings, which include moving vehicles, heavy equipment, high-pressure hoses and lines, overhead cranes and cables. Employers can promote safety by installing alarms on vehicles, whip checks on hose lines, signage and barriers, and through training.
Another common cause of fatalities — one with an easy solution — is workers falling from heights. One study found 86 percent of victims were not wearing a safety harness. Among those who were, many harnesses were used improperly. Employers can further increase safety by installing protective barriers near openings.
Uncommon sources of danger in the oil and gas industry
Oil and gas workers face dangers related to the nature of their jobs. Fires and explosions happen because of open flames, idling engines, site lighting and hot work. Flammable vapors, static electricity and the weather contribute to the risk. Protecting workers means constant monitoring of working conditions.
The worksite itself is a harmful environment. Sites include confined work spaces, storage tanks and containers, mud and reserve pits, and other risky conditions in a high-paced environment. Equipment must be properly operated and maintained, and workers trained about dangers.
Sources for protecting yourself
Responsible employers address the hazards of oil and gas sites. Unfortunately, some employers seem to accept injuries and fatalities as part of the cost of doing business. A serious work injury may leave you out of work for months or unable to ever work again.
At worst, your family has lost a loved one. The medical expenses, wage loss, and regular living expenses may overwhelm you. You are up against an employer, its team of lawyers and an insurance company interested only in paying you as little as possible for your pain and suffering.
McLaughlin & Sanchez has more than 30 years of combined experience fighting for workers’ compensation claims just like yours. We have seen it all throughout San Diego and Imperial counties, from stalling tactics to questionable legal maneuvering. Our only goal is protecting your rights while securing justice and a fair financial settlement for you and your family. Contact us today for a free case consultation.