In today’s episode, experienced oilfield accident attorney Ryan C. Solis — a.k.a. Captain Rescue — is burning the midnight oil collecting evidence from the wife of a client who was recently hurt during an explosion in an oilfield in West Texas.
The woman cried, “My husband is still in the hospital and already we can’t afford his medical bills.” Captain Rescue furrowed his brow; this wasn’t the first person, nor the last, injured in an oilfield accident that was going into debt due to the injuries they had suffered while on the job.
With a clenched fist, he told her, “We’ll get you the money!” Captain Rescue gazed at the humming neon sign above his office, Law Office of Ryan C. Solis. It was then when he knew he had to research the most common causes of oilfield accidents and the injuries they cause in order to keep others working in the industry safe.
The Causes of Oilfield Accidents
Not too long ago, Captain Rescue received a 2018 report on his desk from the Kansas Journal of Medicine that opened his eyes to the increasing number of injuries and deaths that occur in oilfields around the nation. In this report, he read that the occupational fatality rate in the oil industry is four to seven times greater than other U.S. industries.
From what he would later determine, the majority of oilfield accidents that saw grievous injury or death came as a result of:
- Heavy Equipment Failure – Operating heavy machinery is one of the most common causes of injury and death in the oil and gas industry. When a machine causes a catastrophic injury due to worker inexperience, mechanical failure, poor maintenance, or inadequate safety inspections, harm and death are left in its wake.
- Fire and Explosions – Oilfield work sites are full of structures, equipment, and vehicles that produce flammable gases and chemicals that can ignite if a source of friction, static electricity, open flame, or other heat source is nearby.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls – Long hours and poor weather conditions can increase the chances of a worker slipping, tripping, or falling from great heights, causing serious injury or death.
- Vehicular Accidents – Poor driving conditions, worker fatigue, drugs and alcohol, or poorly maintained work vehicles are all causes of vehicular accidents on or near work sites.
- Well Blowouts – Failures in a pressure control system while drilling for oil is one of the most common causes of a well blowout, causing crude oil and natural gas to erupt violently. Any spark during this eruption can cause devastation from an uncontrollable oil or gas fire capable of harming or killing nearby workers.
- Fracking Accidents – When fracking, high-pressure streams of water or other chemicals are shot through a borehole in order to break through deep rock structures and harvest petroleum and natural gases. Fracking can be dangerous for workers, causing plenty of injuries and death from severe accidents or chemical spills.
- Working in Confined Spaces – Injuries can occur in tight spaces like storage containers or tanks that contain concentrated hazardous chemicals that, when exposed, can asphyxiate, crush, or burn workers.
Every day, men and women working in the oilfields across Texas put their lives at risk to take care of their family. Captain Rescue wants to help take care of those that have paid the price to make sure their loved ones are fed and happy.
Common Injuries that Happen in Oilfield Accidents
A wide variety of painful injuries occur from oilfield accidents that can be costly to treat, even well after the accident happened. Listed below are a few of the most common injuries that oil and gas industry workers sustain in their line of work:
- Skin Injuries – Cuts, lacerations, bruises, burns (1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree), frostbite, and punctures are all serious injuries that can occur when out in the field. If left untreated, infections and diseases like Tetanus can develop, putting the worker’s life at risk.
- Soft Tissue Damage – Improperly lifting heavy materials can tear a worker’s muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Oilfield workers can also deal with sprains and strains.
- Bone Injuries – Heavy machine failure, explosions, and well blowouts can all do significant damage to your bones, causing fractured bones, shattered bones, compound fractures, and dislocated joints.
- Limb Injury – Partial or full amputations have been reported in oilfield work, as well as crushed limbs, and temporary or permanent damage to arms, legs, and digits.
- Neck and Back Injuries – The force of an oil field explosion or vehicular accident can not only cause whiplash, but can also lead to pinched nerves, broken vertebrae, herniated discs, ruptured discs, and paralysis.
- Head and Brain Injuries – Facial lacerations and fractures, concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries are all serious damages that workers can sustain when involved in an accident in the oilfield.