Workplace safety on the oil fields requires the strictest adherence to safety protocols, such as those set by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). With potential hazards around every corner, even small mistakes can have huge and long-lasting consequences in the form of devastating accidents, injuries and deaths. Unfortunately, while some workers may follow safety regulations to a tee, others may not be so careful.
Statistics from national safety agencies such as OSHA show oil fields to be one of the most dangerous workplaces for U.S. workers.
In fact, according to an OSHA report, as many as 4,000 oil field workers are injured—and approximately 100 are killed—in on-the-job accidents each year in the U.S.
At one point, during the oil and gas boom from 2003 to 2010, the oil and gas extraction industry's workplace fatality rate was seven times as high as the rate for other industries. Oil field workers injured in fires, explosions, vehicle accidents, falls, and rig and scaffolding collapses often sustain catastrophic injuries that require extensive and sometimes lifelong treatment.
Steps to Take After an Oil Field Accident
If you were injured or lost a loved one in an oil field accident caused by employer or co-worker negligence, or defective or malfunctioning equipment, you may be eligible for compensation. Taking the following steps immediately after an oil field accident can help strengthen a future workers' compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Notify Your Employer of the Accident
Report the accident and any injuries to your direct supervisor as soon as possible. Failure to notify your employer of the accident in a timely fashion may put your job at risk and make it more difficult to receive the compensation you need and deserve.
Complete a written incident report and be as honest as possible. It's also important to describe all of your injuries in detail, and indicate any and all areas where you feel pain. It's important to be as thorough as you can—if you fail to mention an injury in this report, but attempt to seek compensation for it later on, an insurance adjuster or attorneys for the other side may try to claim the injury was unrelated to the oil field accident.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Don't give insurance adjusters or defense attorneys the ability to cast doubt of the severity or extent of your injuries. Seek medical attention as soon as possible to ensure your injuries are treated and documented by a qualified medical professional.
Take Photographic Evidence
When communicating the extent of your accident-related injuries to insurance adjusters, or judges and juries, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. After an oil field injury, take photos of the accident scene and any factors that may have contributed to the incident. Make sure to also take photos of all of your injuries. If your injuries prevent you from doing this yourself, ask someone you trust to take them for you.
Get Contact Information From Witnesses
If anyone witnessed the oil field accident, make sure to write down their names, contact information, and an account of what they saw. This makes it possible for an attorney to contact them for official statements or testimonies, if necessary.
Keep Records of Medical Expenses
Medical expenses related to oil field accident injuries can be astronomical. Keeping a detailed record of all of your medical expenses is absolutely essential, as they will be used to calculate the past and future costs of your treatments, and play a large role in determining the size of your settlement.
Consult an Attorney
Oil field accident cases often pit average Joe workers against savvy insurance adjusters or corporate counsel. Having an experienced oil field attorney by your side can help level the playing field and ensure there's someone looking out for your interests.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in an oil field accident, McGartland Law's award-winning attorneys can help you fight for compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case consultation.