What Are Common Causes of An Oil And Gas Plant Accident?

A major explosion is often the result of either an oil and gas plant accident or a petroleum plant accident, making workplace fatalities in the petroleum industry much more common. The workers caught in the disaster area are often severely burned or permanently injured, if not killed. Some of these workers will never be able to return to their jobs, and a few will never be able to return to any occupation. The increasing rate of fatalities and severe injuries in the petroleum industry are extremely troubling, and indicate a degree of danger not found in any other workplace setting.

A study produced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding workplace fatalities demonstrates this clearly. The CDC found that between 2003 and 2010, the fatality rate for people in this industry was seven times higher than the national industry average (the average rate is 3.8 for every 100,000 workers in other industries and 27.1 for every 100,000 in the petroleum industry). Also, the fatality rate for every 100 rigs was more than twice as high in 2010 than it was in 2003, suggesting that severe disasters are becoming more common or have been especially deadly in recent years. Nearly all of these fatalities occurred on platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire is a clear example of an oil and gas industry accident caused by corporate negligence. One of the biggest news stories of 2010, the Deepwater oil spill resulted from a catastrophic blowout that occurred the night of April 20. A blowout is a sudden surge of pressure escaping from a well that is powerful enough to rocket to the surface. In most cases, a blowout happens when drilling and extraction are not properly controlled by the attending crew. There were many safety concerns onboard the Deepwater Horizon that foreshadowed the events of April 20, 2010. In 2009, BP engineers expressed doubt that the metal casing BP was using for the drill mechanism would hold given the well’s pressure. A month before the explosion the platform repeatedly experienced trouble with sudden pressure spikes and debris falling into the well. Hours before the accident, as unsafe levels of pressure were building up in the drill column, a BP official ordered the crew to pump seawater into the well to replace drilling mud. The chief driller protested this, knowing that it may cause a blowout, but many workers felt that BP and Transocean were hostile to employees raising safety concerns that would delay drilling. As a result, safety measures were ignored, eventually resulting in a blowout of methane gas.

The most common oil and gas industry accident occurs when workers are traveling to or from a job site. However, plant and platform explosions are often the result of rigid  corporate demands, which place safety at the bottom of the priority list. This negligence resulted in 11 deaths and numerous injuries on the Deepwater Horizon. The oil spill that followed caused even more injuries and billions of dollars in damages.

When a deadly incident occurs, victims will not be able to rely on their employers to look after their needs. Instead, victims will likely have to fight for their right to injury coverage. This is best done with the help of a personal injury attorney experienced in this treacherous field. Their expertise can often help these victims attain compensation for an employer’s negligence.