Oklahoma Oil Field Injuries: A Growing Problem

Noble McIntyre on October 1, 2013

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Approximately one quarter of all jobs in Oklahoma are energy-related in some way. According to one economist at the University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Business Administration, oil and natural gas helped the state survive the nation’s recent recession. While that’s great news for the economy, not everything’s coming up roses in the oil fields.

Oil field accidents are occurring with more and more frequency, and they can range from minor to severe. Hazards include work rig collapses, falls from rigs and equipment, equipment failures or defective products, frac tank problems, well blowouts, and explosions and fires. While occasionally these can result in minor injuries, they more commonly lead to burns, electrocution, broken backs or necks, head injuries, loss of limbs, exposure to toxic chemicals or gases, slip and fall injuries, and even fatalities.

Accidents happen, even to employees of companies that are responsible and follow all of the regulations. But, there are ways that workers can help to keep their working environments safe:

  • Wear a self-contained respirator when you’re around high chemical levels.
  • Be sure that your workplace has been properly and regularly inspected (which includes all machinery and equipment) to ensure that everything is in working order and has been sufficiently maintained.
  • Follow all workplace procedures and protocols. Don’t be afraid to be a whistle-blower: If you suspect that one of your coworkers or supervisors isn’t doing something correctly and within regulations, tell a higher-up. The life you save could be your own.
  • Report incidents to your supervisor immediately.
  • Always were the required protective gear (eye masks, helmets, boots, gloves, etc.).
  • Be sure that your colleagues are correctly and adequately trained.
  • If you don’t think that you’ve been properly trained to operate a piece of equipment, don’t. Let your supervisor know that you need more instruction before you begin.

Three out of five on-site fatalities among oil and gas extraction industry workers are because of struck by/caught in/caught between hazards that are the result of moving vehicles or equipment, falling equipment or high-pressure lines.

Taking the above precautions won’t prevent all workplace accidents, of course. But, if you’re aware of the most common risks, you can be prepared. Certainly, too, there are likely to be safety precautions that are specific to your particular company or task. You should know them and feel comfortable following them.

If something in your workplace doesn’t seem quite right, or if you think that there’s a hazard present and you’re not comfortable approaching your immediate supervisor (or if your supervisor is part of the problem), you can contact the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) at (800) 321-OSHA (6742) or at www.osha.gov. As well, if you’ve been injured on the job, the attorneys at McIntyre Law can help. While some Oklahoma oil injury lawyers will simply file a worker’s compensation claim, McIntyre’s lawyers will do more than that; we investigate your claim to the fullest extent in order to determine whether there’s any third-party liability or gross negligence on the part of your employer. If either of those scenarios is the case, we will help you and your loved ones to receive the compensation you deserve.

Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law who focuses primarily on drug litigation and catastrophic injury cases. He is currently representing clients injured by the drugs Paxil, Levaquin and testosterone therapy drugs and by clients affected by oil field injuries. His goal has and continues to be to work diligently on behalf of his clients to achieve the highest and best result for his clients’ injuries while maintaining professionalism and abiding by all ethical standards of his profession. Read more about Noble McIntyre.

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