As the oil and gas industry multiplies so does the amount of workers facing the ramifications of a drilling rig accident. When dangerous work environments are paired with site inadequacies those on the job are at a higher risk for severe injury or death. When a catastrophe occurs, the workers and surviving family members typically seek guidance and representation from an attorney specializing in the rights of those involved in a drilling rig accident.
Approximately 500,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines transport hazardous substances throughout the United States. The industry continues to grow annually and is continuously in need of additional on-site employees, increasing the likelihood of dangerous mishaps. A faster training process is not uncommon for the growing workforce, resulting in workers with less experience and inability to perform their job duties in a safe manner. In addition, the push to maximize production has led to longer work days, older equipment with lower maintenance practices, and a decreased amount of safety measures implemented.
Between 2002 and 2007 the Bureau of Labor Statistics documented that roughly 600 workers assigned to oil fields and rigs died on the job. Many components led to these fatalities as well as those injuries and deaths continuing to occur. A drilling rig accident may occur while performing construction procedures, pipeline transportation and tasks associated with storage and contamination. There is a whole multitude of reasons why harmful situations arise including exhaustion, contact with power lines, explosions, wrongfully placed components, lack of training, and poor communication. The list goes on and on, yet each event, whether big or small, can result in extreme injuries such as burns and broken bones, as well as permanent disabilities including amputations, and death.
Hydraulic fracking is a common practice in the industry, but one with many risks. This process of extracting natural gas from rock formations underground is typically performed in areas of abundant shale. Currently about 30 states in the U.S. have fracking locations, despite the warnings and potential impact on the health of their workers and the environment. Once the gas has been extracted it is brought to the surface along with massive amounts of contaminated water and radioactive elements. As with every aspect of this industry a drilling rig accident can happen at any time. In addition, workers in this environment are known for getting chronic illnesses and even cancer.
In any case, it is important that injured workers of a drilling rig accident and surviving family members of the deceased understand their rights and are compensated when applicable. Attorneys specializing in oil and gas litigation can review each individual case immediately following the incident, regardless of any ongoing investigation. They will evaluate the worker’s contract and any liability waivers that may apply. This industry is subject to state and federal regulations, maritime law when applicable, and agencies such as OSHA and MSHA. Often times there may be many victims and accountable parties under consideration. The consulted attorney can assist their clients throughout the legal process and ensure the responsible party is established as such. The attorney must prove the injury or death was due to the carelessness of one or more of the other involved parties. When the personal injury claim that is filed on behalf of the victim is in their favor, the damages they receive may be in the form of medical costs, loss of benefits, monetary compensation, and end-of -life expenses, just to name a few.
When involved in any form of drilling rig accident is critical that those personally affected know their legal rights. An oil and gas attorney can provide this information and the necessary assistance along the way.