It’s no secret that working in the energy industry comes with an inherent set of risks, but a fatal or serious oil field accident is more common than most realize. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous occupations in Texas, and because of this, it is recommended that anyone involved in the industry have an oil field injury lawyer on call. During a five year period from 2007 to 2011, this industry had more fatal accidents than any other, and poor enforcement of business safety regulations continues to be a problem.
In those five years, 197 deaths were reported, each due to an oil field accident. On average, that is 39 deaths every year, which means this industry leads the state in fatal incidents, though a few industries do have higher rates of severe incidents. That being said, the national fatality rate for the energy extraction industry is 27.5 per 100,000, which is seven times the national average. In short, major incidents are common in this field, especially when it comes to fracking.
Fracking is the shorthand term that refers to drilling into rock and channeling pressurized fluid to fracture the layer and release natural gas sealed in the geological stratification. This is a fairly new approach to extraction, and it comes with several risks that put workers in constant peril. Because it’s still a young approach, safety regulations are not as tight as they need to be to prevent an oil field accident.
In May 2012, a wreck involving a truck carrying fracking chemicals shut down a section of a Colorado highway and prompted hazmat crews to block off the area while they checked to see if the cargo was compromised. Recently, a hydraulic fracking tank in Texas exploded and injured two workers. These incidents occur all the time, and it’s fortunate when only injuries are reported and not deaths. Because fracking and rigs use so much heavy machinery and transport materials all over the place, major problems should be expected. In fact, transportation wrecks and workers being struck by bulky objects are the two most common causes of death for those involved in an oil field accident. Sadly, company negligence is often at the root of these incidents, and Texas energy businesses have been paying out fees associated with violated regulations for quite a while now.
Three Texas energy businesses reported more than three fatal incidents over the five year period mentioned previously, and all three were fined by OSHA for violating safety regulations. This speaks to a major problem in the industry, as these companies are often so profitable and aggressive in seeking out opportunities that careful consideration for worker safety gets overlooked. An oil field accident can kill or maim, and families that have reached out for restitution for their injured or killed loved ones have won major suits against these negligent businesses. Anyone who has been involved in an incident should seek out an oil field injury lawyer, as a victim will need expert representation to make headway against a powerful corporation. These professionals serve as a major line of defense for the victim, and make sure they show the court a strong case for a greater chance of recompense for their client.