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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
The oil industry is booming in Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle. It's even projected to beat the record of 1.26 billion barrels, which has been the highest on record since 1972 in the national record. Regardless, the amount of overworked oil workers is staggering. In fact, the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers reports that the workforce is the size it was almost a decade ago. But, no matter. The buzz in the industry is still all about efficiency, and there are no signs that the overworking of employees is going to change anytime soon.
The truth is, working in the offshore and onshore oil extraction is extremely dangerous work when employers do not maintain the highest safety standards. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has even said that this type of work is seven times higher than full-time work in other fields. The death tolls are rising as well. This is due to Texas' lackadaisical approach to safety standards and procedures, which has been a problem for over twenty years.
It is not uncommon for workers to be struck by equipment, burned by fires and explosions, fall from high drilling platforms, and even to get injured in transportation due to fatigue. Sadly, even though there have been growing problems with this, the government seems to back the oil industry. This has been the case in other states as well. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that a worker could sue oil and natural gas companies was only approved at the beginning of this year after litigation about a tragic explosion that fatally burned one of their workers.
There is no clear reason why the oil and natural gas industry has not been held accountable for their carelessness. They already have additional complaints from those that are not workers regarding contamination (due to spills, leaks, fracking, and air pollution), noise pollution, and landowner lawsuits. Hopefully, continued pressure from multiple directions will appeal to their conscience. As it is, the current system of fining them has not proven to be a very effective policy tool. They are simply too rich and powerful, so fines are more like a smack on the hand. Meanwhile, there are plenty of knowledgeable lawyers that are passionate about helping workers and others that are negatively affected by this industry.
When oil workers are injured on the job, they may be entitled to workers' compensation, maintenance and cure, or other benefits. Furthermore, depending on the situation, the worker or his or her family may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit or product liability lawsuit for further recovery. After an accident resulting in serious injury or death, always speak to a qualified attorney as soon as possible to get legal advice on the best way to proceed.
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