Common Injuries in Oilfield Accidents

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Oil fields present an unfortunate potential for accidents resulting in serious injuries. Although there are a variety of rules and regulations oil field workers and management are supposed to require and enforce, safety tends to be an overlooked element of operations on site. The effect of these injuries can be severe and lasting depending on the type of injury.

Dangers on an oil field include driving to and from the actual work site, the startup of the operation, drilling, completions, fracking, flow-back, equipment set-up and removal, and even natural elements of the surrounding environment such as explosive gas, hydrocarbons, and the deadly gas h2s. Even a minor accident in this type of environment can result in severe and even fatal consequences.

Common injuries sustained in oilfield accidents:

  • Eye injuries
  • Hearing loss
  • Lacerations
  • “Struck by” injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Electric burns
  • Fire burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Amputation
  • Death

Insufficient training, poor supervision, and poorly maintained or defective equipment are common causes of these types of injuries and can expose an oil field company’s liability for the accident.

There are a variety of signs that could indicate an oil field is unnecessarily dangerous, primarily due to a lack of attention to safety protocols.

Some of these signs include:

  • Lack of safety meetings. When an oil company fails to hold and enforce regular safety meetings, this can indicate a lack of care for the safety of the oil field workers. Frequent safety meetings are a sign that management is aware of safety risks on site and committed to addressing them.
  • A work culture lacking safety-awareness. When supervisors fail to take action regarding the enforcement of safety protocols, and coworkers frequently break safety regulations on the oil field, it’s only a matter of time before an accident occurs and someone is injured.
  • Oppression of open communication. When employees are punished or subject to retaliation for bringing safety concerns forward, or management express apathy toward oil field safety procedures, this can indicate essential safety measures are being overlooked in an oil field.
  • Provision of adequate personal protective equipment. All oil field employees should be provided with adequate personal protective equipment for their roles. This equipment needs to be up-to-date and well-maintained.
  • Poor maintenance or retention of defective machinery. It’s essential that machinery and equipment involved in the operation of an oil field undergo routine maintenance, and that defective machinery or machinery containing defective parts are repaired or replaced immediately.

If indications of an unsafe working environment exist, and/or when an accident occurs on an oil field, report it to management.

At the first sign of unsafe conditions on an oil field or immediately after an accident occurs, it’s important that workers speak to management and inform them of the safety violations taking place. Accidents and broken safety protocol should be documented with pictures and videos if possible, and can then be brought before a supervisor before legal action is considered. If you or a loved one were injured in an oil field accident, or to learn more about oil field safety, seek legal counsel.