A Black oil rig worker performs his duties wearing a safety vest and hard hat.
What should be done to guard against the known hazards of oil rig work?
February 22, 2024
April 7, 2024

Is Working on an Oil Rig Dangerous?

Oil rig work on land or sea is a high-risk occupation. How dangerous is this work, and what can be done to guard against known dangers?

In the vast expanse of our oceans and oilfields, oil rigs stand as monumental structures, emblematic of human ingenuity and the pursuit of energy resources. Yet, beneath their towering presence lies a realm of risks and dangers that can profoundly impact the lives of workers and their families. 

From towering derricks to intricate machinery, each component of an oil rig presents its own set of perils. These risks range from slips, trips, and falls to catastrophic emergencies. If you are left grappling with medical bills, lost wages, or long-term disability after an oil rig accident, you deserve justice.

An experienced oil rig injury lawyer can help you maximize a worker’s compensation claim or pursue a lawsuit to hold negligent parties accountable. Contact Pierce Skrabanek at (832) 690-7000 for a free consultation on your oilfield or maritime industry case.

Read on to better understand the known dangers related to oil rig work on land and sea, and your rights after suffering a work-related injury.

Are Oil Rigs Dangerous? Known Hazards

Oil rig work, often conducted offshore in challenging environments, presents several known hazards that workers need to be aware of and protected against. These hazards can range from environmental risks to operational dangers. 

Here are some of the common hazards associated with oil rig work:

  • High-Pressure and Heavy Machinery Equipment: Oil rigs operate under high pressure, which can pose risks of explosions, blowouts, and equipment failure. Oil rigs also use heavy machinery and equipment, which can pose crush hazards and risks of entanglement or struck-by incidents if not operated or maintained properly.
  • Fire and Explosion: The presence of flammable substances like oil and gas increases the risk of fire and explosion, especially in the presence of ignition sources such as electrical equipment and machinery.
  • Weather and Environmental Conditions: Offshore oil rigs are exposed to harsh weather conditions such as high winds, storms, and rough seas, which can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Toxic Exposure: Workers may come into contact with various hazardous chemicals used in drilling and production processes. Exposure to these chemicals can lead to health issues ranging from skin irritation to respiratory problems or even long-term health effects like cancer.
  • Isolation and Transport Risks: Oil rigs are often located far from medical facilities, making it challenging to access prompt medical care in case of emergencies. Workers often commute to and from offshore rigs via helicopters, which come with inherent risks related to air travel and helicopter operations.

To minimize these hazards, oil companies have a responsibility to implement comprehensive safety protocols. This should involve steps like providing rigorous training for workers, conducting regular safety inspections, and enforcing strict adherence to safety regulations and procedures. 

Additionally, workers should be equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE). Emergency response plans must be in place to address potential accidents and emergencies.

If you or your loved one was injured due to negligence, or if their care was delayed due to failures in safety protocols, you deserve justice. Contact oil and gas injury lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek by calling (832) 690-7000 for personalized help.

How Dangerous Is Oil Rig Work? Potential Injuries

Oil rig work can be physically demanding and hazardous, and it exposes workers to various potential injuries due to the nature of the job and the environment in which it takes place. Some of the potential injuries that oil rig workers may face include:

  • Traumatic Injuries: Oil rig workers are at risk of traumatic injuries such as fractures, lacerations, contusions, and crush injuries due to heavy machinery, equipment, and materials present on the rig.
  • Head Injuries: Falling objects, slips, trips, and falls can cause head injuries ranging from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
  • Back Injuries: Lifting heavy equipment, working in confined spaces, and repetitive tasks can lead to back injuries such as strains, sprains, herniated discs, and other spinal injuries.
  • Burns and Scalds: Exposure to flammable materials, hot surfaces, steam, and chemicals can lead to burns and scalds. These can range from minor to severe depending on the degree of exposure.
  • Chemical Exposure Injuries: Exposure to hazardous chemicals used in drilling and production processes can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, chemical burns, and long-term health effects such as cancer and neurological disorders.
  • Drowning and Water-Related Injuries: Offshore oil rig workers face the risk of drowning and water-related injuries due to the remote and often harsh marine environment. There is also the possibility of accidents during emergency evacuation procedures or transportation to and from the rig.
  • Electric Shock and Electrocution: Working with electrical equipment and machinery poses risks of electric shock and electrocution if proper safety precautions are not followed or if equipment malfunctions occur.

To mitigate the risk of these injuries, oil companies should implement comprehensive safety programs. Employers should provide appropriate training and personal protective equipment (PPE), and conduct regular safety inspections. Additionally, emergency response plans should be in place to address potential accidents and injuries promptly and effectively.

How Dangerous Is Working on an Oil Rig? Statistics

Working on an oil rig can be dangerous due to various factors. Here are some statistics to provide a clearer picture:

  • Lost Workday Cases: The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) member companies reported 580 lost workday cases (injuries resulting in at least one day off work) in one recent year.
  • Severe Injuries: In a 7-year timeframe, 32 jurisdictions reported 2,101 severe injuries (those resulting in amputation, loss of an eye, or inpatient hospitalization) among oil and gas extraction industry workers. 
  • Fatalities: The IOGP reported an increase in fatalities from 14 to 20 in one recent year, a fatal accident rate 36% higher than the previous year’s figure.

The oil and gas industry has an average death rate significantly higher than that experienced by other United States workers (3.8 per 100,000 workers).

These statistics highlight the risks associated with working on an oil rig. However, many of these injuries and fatalities could be prevented by including contractors in worksite safety plans, improving job and equipment hazards training, and reinforcing safety practices.

Contact an Oil Rig Injury Lawyer

In the face of the numerous dangers inherent in oil rig work, the importance of legal recourse cannot be overstated. As we've explored the potential injuries and hazards that plague this industry, it becomes evident that seeking justice and compensation for those harmed is paramount. 

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or loss due to negligence or misconduct in the oil rig sector, you deserve the guidance of an experienced oil rig injury lawyer. Contact Pierce Skrabanek at (832) 690-7000 for a free, fully confidential consultation to explore your options.

Our legal professionals possess the resources necessary to investigate the complexities of your case, and hold the responsible parties accountable. By partnering with our dedicated attorneys, you can pursue the financial support you deserve, while working towards a safer future for all those who labor on the high seas. 

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