Oil Field Injury Lawyers from Houston
The Importance of Oil Rig and Oil Field Workers
With the advancements in green energy technology, it sometimes is easy to forget the continual impact of the oil and gas industry on our daily lives. From your fancy iPhone to the standard vitamin capsule, roughly 96% of the products we use every day are made from oil and natural gas production.
Although oil production is present in many parts of United States (like west Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico), the city of Houston stands as the energy capital of the world and is home to the thought leaders for virtually every segment of the oil and gas industry. Houston employs nearly a third of the nation’s jobs in oil and gas extraction, with over 4,700 energy-related firms, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. Our region also is at the forefront of foreign energy investment, especially in Mexico. From the offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico to the onshore extractions from sedimentary rock across the western and southern parts of Texas, oil rigs and the hard-working people who make up the crews for these rigs are the bloodline of the energy industry.
Injuries from Oil Drilling
Oil rigs and oil fields can be a very dangerous place to work. Every rig can run the risk of an explosion if the necessary precautions are not taken. Like with the events that took place during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, oil rig explosions can be as devastating as any natural disaster.
There are several factors that can contribute to oil rig accidents. Some of the most common causes include:
- Negligence: Human errors are some of the leading causes of oil rig accidents. This can include mistakes made during drilling operations, poor equipment training, and poor safety procedures.
- Weather: Bad weather conditions can also contribute to oil rig accidents. High winds, waves, and storms can make it difficult to operate safely, and can even cause rigs to capsize.
- Mechanical failures: Mechanical failures or malfunctions can be a common cause of oil rig accidents. Each piece of equipment requires regular maintenance to work as intended. Sometimes oil and/or drilling rig companies ignore maintenance reports for economic reasons.
- Natural disasters: Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, can also cause oil rig accidents. These events can damage the rig’s infrastructure and can make it difficult to respond to emergencies.
Since oil rig workers are surrounded by heavy equipment and flammable substances throughout the day, any accident that occurs could be fatal or leave someone with serious life-altering health conditions. Injuries from these accidents can include:
Fire and explosion injuries
Mainly due to the presence of flammable oil and materials like hydrogen sulfide gas. If breakers on the rig are not properly maintained, equipment is allowed to become outdated, or fire safety inspections are overlooked because crew protection isn’t being prioritized, a fire or burn injury is likely to happen.
Exposure related injuries
Exposure to toxic chemicals, fumes, or materials at work can cause damage to the lungs, eyes, skin, and/or brain. Having physical contact with hazardous chemicals could cause allergic reactions, rashes, chemical burns, respiratory problems (including asthma attacks), and possible asphyxiation. Long term interruptions in breathing can quickly result in brain damage as well.
Transportation related injuries
These can include injuries to one’s back or neck caused by lifting heavy machinery or equipment, with or without adequate support like a back brace or belt. They can also be caused by being forced to lift something too fast or too heavy without the help of others.
Amputations, lacerations, and crushing injuries
A deep tissue cut or tear can easily occur when machinery malfunctions or falls on a part of the body. The most common type of bodily injury within the oil and gas industry are ones affecting hands and fingers. These injuries can be traumatic as they often mean an overwhelming change in an employee’s life outside of work, affecting his or her ability to drive, use their phone, eat with utensils, or do other daily tasks.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. This federal law governs and regulates maritime commerce in the United States as well as the rights of those employed on U.S. ships (referred to as “seamen”). The Jones Act requires any cargo traveling by sea between two U.S. ports to sail in an American-owned ship which was built in the United States, and is crewed by majority U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This federal law also states that seamen who are injured on the job have the right to bring Jones Act lawsuits against their employer to seek damages as necessary.
Many Oil Field Injuries Are Not Reported
In recent years, some states have seen a boom of drilling activity in order to supply the demand in the United States for oil and gas.
These states include:
As these states and others increase drilling productivity, more and more people are being employed on oil fields, rigs, and refineries. Sometimes, the rush to supply an increasing demand means safety precautions and restrictions are ignored. Some individuals may be found operating machinery without proper training. Equipment may be faulty or improperly maintained. Other causes of accidents include explosions, fires, blowouts, and motor vehicle accidents.
Despite high accident rates, accompanied by many on-the-job injuries and deaths, a December 2014 article in the Houston Chronicle stated that many oil field injuries may go unreported. As it stands, Texas is in the top three states for fatal workplace accidents in the oil and gas industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, across all states, oil field injuries are increasing.
Our Law Firm Is Committed to Transforming Lives Through Law®
Every day, oil field and oil rig workers in Texas go to work ready to meet the physical demands of their difficult jobs. Through no fault of their own, some drilling rig crew members and well service workers sustain serious injuries on oil rigs. As a leading cruel oil producer, Texas has numerous oilfield accidents that cause serious injuries and cost rig workers their health and even their lives. If you or a loved one was hurt in relation to an accident on a refinery, rig, or oilfield, it is important to be aware of your legal rights.
At Fleming, Nolen & Jez, our personal injury and mass tort lawyers have dedicated their careers to fighting for the rights of injured victims throughout the United States. If you were seriously injured through the negligence or wrongdoing of a company or another person, you may be able to file a lawsuit to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to speak with our legal team to review your case information.