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Dangers abound in the oil, gas extraction business

Roustabouts and other workers in the oil and gas drilling business face dangers that could cause work-ending injury or even death.

Much of the equipment can be dangerous, as can many of the materials used to get gas and oil out of the ground. While many workers know these dangers going in to the job, they also deserve protection while on the job.

OSHA records

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps track of injuries throughout the U.S. workforce.

It found that the leading cause of oil and gas field worker injuries and fatalities were caused not on the site at all but in vehicle accidents. The oil and gas wells are often very remote and require transportation to get workers and equipment to and from the well sites.

OSHA says roughly four out of every 10 oil and gas workers killed died in a traffic accident.

Equally dangerous is a category OSHA calls struck-by/caught-in/caught-between hazards. These are injuries that occur when equipment is dropped, a worker is crushed between equipment or when a vehicle or high-pressure line strikes an employee.

The agency says three out of every five on-site fatalities are caused by struck-by/caught-in/caught-between hazards.

Other causes for injury

Since oil and gas are flammable, it makes sense that one of the major dangers of oil and gas extraction is explosions and fires. Flammable gases and vapors can be released from trucks, equipment or the wells themselves and be ignited by anything ranging from static electricity, open flames, cigarettes, welding tools, lightning and frictional heat.

Other potential areas for injury include:

  • Above-ground platforms from which falls can occur when not using or improperly using fall protection gear
  • Confines spaces such as storage tanks and reserve pits where vapors or gas can accumulate and lead to asphyxiation or exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Ergonomic injuries related to lifting, bending, reaching, pushing and pulling heavy loads
  • Exposure to high-pressure lines or compressed gases that can result in line bursts or struck-by hazards
  • Machine hazards including rotating equipment such as top drives, compressors, hoist blocks, belt wheels and conveyors that can result in struck-by or caught-between injuries

If you or a loved one is injured while working in the oil or gas extraction industry, contact a qualified, experienced attorney who can help you get the reimbursement you need for medical bills, lost wages and inability to continue to work.

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