Oil fields offer lucrative jobs for individuals willing to work hard in fast-paced, harried environments with potential hazards around every corner. When oil company employers and employees work carefully and follow the proper safety procedures, oil fields can run like well-oiled machines—no pun intended.
However, when expediency and profit take a backseat to safety, devastating oil field accidents occur.
Explosions are one of the most common—and deadly—types of oil field accidents. Despite employing less than 1 percent of the U.S. workforce, the oil and gas industry accounts for more than 10 percent of fire and explosion-related workplace fatalities, according to an EnergyWire review of federal labor statistics.
Oil field explosion victims fortunate enough to survive the blast are often left with catastrophic injuries that require extensive—and expensive—medical treatment and rehabilitation. If you were injured in an oil field explosion accident caused by employer or co-worker negligence, you may be eligible for compensation.
Common Causes of Oil Field Explosion Accidents
Explosions can be caused by any number of conditions out of the oil field, including negligence on the part of the employer, employee, or both. Other common causes of oil field accidents include:
- Improper maintenance: Oil and gas drilling equipment requires regular inspection and maintenance to ensure it's working properly. When maintenance needs are ignored, what would have been a simple repair issue can quickly turn into a disaster.
- Impure drilling chemicals: The chemicals used in oil and gas drilling efforts must be pure and clean. Contaminated drilling chemicals can cause an unexpected reaction and increase the risk of explosion.
- Corrosion: When corrosion weakens the metal on machinery and other oil field equipment, accidents such as fires and explosions can be the result.
- Fires: Cutting, welding, and grinding—all of which can create sparks or an open flame— happen daily out on the oil field. If the spark or flame makes contact with oil or natural gas, fires and explosions can occur.
- Blowouts: When oil or natural gas is released without adequate pressure controls, a "blowout" can happen. If the uncontrolled oil or natural gas hits a spark, it could cause a serious explosion.
- Equipment failure: Oil and gas drilling equipment can malfunction or fail when not serviced regularly. This failure can lead to injuries and accidents, including explosions.
- Safety regulation violations: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, has a number of safety regulations in place to prevent workplace accidents and injuries. However, when employers, employees, or other oil field workers disregard safety standards, accidents such as explosions are far more likely.
Injuries Associated With Oil Field Explosions
- Severe burns
- Vision impairment or loss
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Respiratory damage
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones, including arms, legs, and ribs
Oil Field Explosion Wrongful Death Cases
When an oil field worker loses his or her life in an explosion or other on-the-job accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for a wide range of damages, including:
- Doctor or hospital costs incurred before death
- Funeral fees
- Burial or cremation expenses
- Past and future lost earnings
- The decedent's pain and suffering
- The survivors' mental anguish
- Loss of economic support
- Loss of family or household services
- Diminished inheritance
- Loss of companionship and guidance
- Loss of consortium (for spouses)
Were You Injured in an Oil Field Explosion Accident?
If you were hurt in an explosion while working out on the oil field, McGartland Law's award-winning legal team can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a free initial consultation to review your case with legal professional. Don't wait: statute of limitations laws restrict how long you have to file a lawsuit.