Many people know the state of Louisiana for its oil and gas industry, and while extracting these resources is an important job, it comes with a greater risk to its workers than other industries. There are a variety of ways an oil worker might suffer injury and may require workers’ compensation to cover the medical costs. Here is a look, provided by OSHA, of the various kinds of hazards oil workers may encounter.
As expected, oil workers work around dangerous chemicals and gases that can catch fire, so it is no surprise that some workers suffer injury from fire and explosions. Possible sources of flame include oil production equipment, trucks, oil wells, shale shakers, and tanks. Any of these sources may produce vapors, gases and other flammable gases. Workers should be cautious not to accidentally ignite these gases as they work around them.
Oil workers also suffer injury or death from hazards that might strike or catch them. OSHA refers to these as struck-by or caught-in or caught-between hazards. A number of moving vehicles or equipment may strike or catch a worker between them. In other cases, a tool or piece of equipment from high above may strike and injure a worker. These hazards are so severe that they kill three out of every five oil workers who die on the job.
High platforms are a feature of the oil industry, so oil workers naturally have to access them or equipment situated high above. But at a high level, without the proper safety equipment, workers face the risk of falling and either injuring or killing themselves. Workers may also fall by slipping and falling or by tripping on an uneven surface.
Many oil workers actually suffer injury and even death from a vehicular crash on the road. Since many wells exist in remote areas, workers have to drive extended distances to access them. But oil workers, since they work long hours, may drive while fatigued and could get into an accident. In fact, highway accidents kill about four out of every ten workers in the oil and gas industry.
Given the dangers found in oil workplaces, a workplace injury may produce serious repercussions, including injuries that may put a worker out of action for weeks or months. The loss of income can make it hard to pay bills and support a family. This is why workers should be aware of their rights under the state workers’ compensation laws and if necessary, ask for help if needed in their workers’ compensation case.