Workplace Deaths Drop Overall; Oil Industry Fatalities Remain Steady
13 February 2013No Comments
Texas sees more on-the-job fatalities among workers in drilling and oil and gas field services than those in any other profession, according to a five-year analysis of fatal accidents investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Overall, workplace deaths have declined in Texas, but not in Texas’ oil industry, where 197 workers were killed between 2007 and 2011 – an average of 39 per year. If you have suffered serious injuries in an oil field accident in Texas, or if you lost a loved one to a fatal workplace injury, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at Bandas Law Firm today. Our oil field accident lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of injured workers and their families throughout the state of Texas, and will work diligently to help you pursue the medical, disability or death benefits you deserve for your losses.
Oil Field Injuries And Fatalities In Texas
The number of oil industry deaths may seem low compared to the estimated 110,000 to 140,000 drill and well supply workers employed in Texas’ booming oil and gas fields. However, Texas’ workplace deaths rates for the oil and gas industry – which are combined with those for the mining industry in the Census of Fatal Occupational injuries – have repeatedly exceeded those for construction, agriculture and other major industries in which devastating accidents occur frequently. In light of this risk, OSHA in January called for a voluntary “stand down” for all workers in oil and gas fields across Texas and four other states, in an effort to draw attention to potentially life-threatening risks on the job site. “The industry standard is always zero injuries and zero fatalities,” said Lisa London, executive director of the Division for Enterprise Development at the University of Texas at Arlington. “Even one is too many.”
OSHA Fines For Workplace Safety Violations
Some of the most recent Texas workplace deaths reported to OSHA involved Nabors Drilling USA LLC and its sister company Nabors Well Services, which reported five deaths statewide. Including Nabors, only three employers reported three or more fatal accidents in Texas from 2007 and 2011; the other two were Unit Texas Drilling LLC and Express Energy Services, with four workplace deaths each. Most workplace fatalities involving oil and gas workers examined in the recent analysis occurred in remote rural areas, received little or no publicity and resulted in small fines. Unit Texas, for example, was fined only $1,625 when a 45-year-old worker fell to his death in May 2007, at a rig near the remote Stewards Mill. Energy Express has been fined a total of $5,650 for violations in two of three fatal workplace accidents.
Oil Industry Workers “Ill-Trained and Ill-Prepared”
According to the analysis, oil field fatalities in Texas were reported in many booming areas, including the Barnett Shale play in the Fort Worth Basin, the Permian Basin near Midland, and the Eagle Ford Shale play in Southeast Texas and East Texas. Safety inspectors investigating the deaths found that many oil field accident victims were killed by flying metal or after getting caught in equipment, while others fell to their deaths, were electrocuted, or inhaled poisonous gases. “Generally what we’re witnessing in the industry, particularly in South Texas with the Eagle Ford Shale, is that they cannot staff these wells quick enough and they are putting people in positions that they are ill-trained and ill-prepared to handle,” said the attorney representing an oil rig worker killed on the job in 2009.
Our Skilled Attorneys Can Help You File A Claim
The oil and gas industries are inherently dangerous, and employees’ lives are put at risk on a daily basis just by showing up to work. Unfortunately, when federally-mandated safety measures aren’t properly followed by employers or supervisors, oil field workers are the ones who pay the price. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oil field accident anywhere in Texas, consult our reputable lawyers at Bandas Law Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys have experience handling workers’ compensation cases, and can help you seek fair and timely reimbursement for your workplace injuries, medical bills and other accident-related damages.