Top Causes of Oilfield Fatalities

By   |  Oil & Gas  |  No Comments  |  Posted on February 10, 2015  

It’s no secret that the oil and gas industry contributes an alarming number of injuries and fatalities each year. Workers face the potential for serious harm while performing dangerous tasks and pulling long, physically demanding hours. When operating massive machinery and handling hazardous materials, an accident can easily lead to Oilfield Fatalities.

Among the sources of these fatalities, transportation incidents make up the vast majority. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up to 40% of the deaths in the oil and gas industry are tied to accidents involving land, air, or sea travel. Roadway collisions with other vehicles accounted for the majority of these fatal accidents, while air travel incidents were the most likely to be deadly if they should occur. The transportation sector can include many situations, such as:

  • Moving personnel to or from an offshore oil rig
  • Transporting refined gasoline to stations and pumps
  • Shipping oil and gas products via railways
  • Transporting supplies for construction, maintenance, and other needs to oil fields
  • Transporting oil and other products via cargo ships and barges

The second most common contributor of fatalities includes contact with objects and equipment. This encompasses any time that a worker is struck, crushed, caught in, or hurt by a machine, a tool that they use, or some other item. The massive and powerful parts that keep rigs, pumps, and many other machines functioning often have the potential to seriously harm workers if they should come into even minimal contact with them.

Falls from heights are the third leading cause of fatalities in the oil and gas industry. While most of these deaths stem from workers falling from very high places, such as performing maintenance on a rig, workers can die from a drop of as low as 6 feet. The location of the impact on the body has more of a direct correlation to the damage sustained than the height of the fall. For instance, if a worker lands on the spinal cord, neck, or head, the harm to body is likely to be more severe.

Trial Lawyers For Oilfield Fatalities

These three situations account for almost 80% of fatalities in oilfields. Although many guidelines exist to attempt to quell these numbers, daily diligence is necessary to reduce these numbers as much as possible. Recognizing these potential disasters is important in understanding where to focus prevention efforts for both workers and managerial staff.