What Causes Most Oil Field Injuries and Deaths?

A Wyoming oil field worker was killed in an accident on an oil rig January 8, 2015. The sheriff’s office reported that the worker sustained blunt force trauma and was likely killed instantly. An unexpected vertical movement of an oil derrick caught the employee between two components of the machinery during what officials describe as blizzard-like conditions, resulting in the loss of his life.

It seems that oil fields are always in the news, whether because oil affects nearly every U.S. consumer or because disasters in oil fields are likely to be high profile due to the volatile nature of crude and natural gas. What is it about oil fields that makes the rate of injuries and fatalities rise higher than similar fields like construction?

Taking 2008 as an example, the three most frequent fatal events were transportation incidents (41 percent), contact with objects and equipment (25 percent), and fires and explosions (15 percent). Transportation holds the crown for causing the most workplace deaths in the oil industry, since often oil and gas are transported via tanker truck, and roadways are statistically a fairly risky place to be. Compounding that risk is the sheer size of an oil tanker, which can easily turn a small accident into a disaster.

How Do Researchers Measure Injury Rates?

To measure rates of nonfatal injuries, researchers look at median days taken off work after an injury. The oil and gas industries have a median of 30 days taken off, significantly higher than the median of seven days for all industries put together. This huge difference is due mainly to bone fractures caused by objects striking workers or workers getting caught in machinery, which require lengthy healing times.

Galloway Jefcoat – Louisiana Oil Field Injury Lawyers

Did You Know? As of July 2014, 68 percent of American voters support more offshore oil drilling.

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