Workers in the oil industry face many deadly hazards on a daily basis, and they are constantly at risk for serious or fatal injuries. Oil rig employees regularly face the risk of explosions and fires due to an ignition of flammable gases and vapors that they are constantly surrounded by. If workers follow the right safety protocol, they can generally escape and survive an explosion or fire, but there are some main protective techniques that are especially helpful.
What Are the Best Ways to Avoid an Explosion or Fire?
Flammable gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, well gases, and well vapors can be released from wells, trucks, manufacturing and production equipment, or even surface equipment such as shale shakers and tanks. If any of these vapors are exposed to certain sources, they will ignite and cause a fire. Sources of ignition can be electric static, electrical energy sources, open flames, cigarettes, cutting and welding tools, hot surfaces, and any other source of frictional heat. The best way to prevent a fire from igniting is to take caution when using any of these tools near any flammable vapors or gases. Every oil rig employee should be educated on how to properly use their tools, equipment, and machinery, but it’s also the workers’ responsibility to use these tools in safe settings and environments. Don’t work in poorly ventilated areas, and make sure all of your equipment is up-to-date and not defective.
Fires on a rig occur because of the presence of gas that has not been dispersed and has started to pool on location. All it takes is a simple spark and the whole area is a conflagaration. These are usually caused by improperly designing the location/set up/barge where the job is being performed, such as a plug and abandon job with everything being dispersed in a small area. We’ve handled several of these types of cases.
Most oil field fires come from a blowout. Drilling “mud” is used to keep the gas in the “hole.” A blowout is usually caused because the drilling crew hit a “sand” and either receive a “kick” from the well that pushes all of the drilling fluid out of the hole or the mud weight exceeds the fracture gradient and all of the mud rushes into the hole. Either way, there is nothing to hold back the rush of gas and a blowout can occur. Of course, there has to be human error or mechanical failure to keep the accumulator and hydrill from working and shutting in the well.
If an explosion or fire does happen while you’re working in an oil field, you can be compensated for any injuries. Fires and explosions can cause a multitude of serious injuries, such as burns, lacerations, or even death. Contact the attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat, LLP if you’d like to be represented in court for your injury.