Oil and Gas Accidents
People employed in the oil and gas industry are subject to some of the most hazardous industrial conditions in the US. Serious injuries occur to even the most experienced oil and gas workers and the severity and duration of injuries, with recovery times that are nearly twice as long, are far worse than in other industry sectors.
Nearly half of all fatal injuries were attributed to highway motor-vehicle crashes and workers being struck by machinery or equipment. Gas explosion injuries, fires, chemical burns and dangerous falls or falling objects or equipment-- workers are often hit on the head or back by tools or equipmentâ€”are just a few of the dangers occurring on a regular basis in the oil and gas industry.
The oil and gas extraction industry employed about 380,000 workers in 2006 and employment is growing. However, increases in oil and gas activity correlate with an increase in the rate of fatal occupational injuries, particularly when inexperienced workers are not sufficiently trained in safety and precautionary measures.
From 2003 to 2006, the industry reported an annual fatality rate of 30.5 per 100,000 workers (404 fatalities) which is approximately seven times the rate for all workers (4.0 per 100,000 workers).
The highest numbers of oil and gas extraction occupational fatalities occurred in Texas (38 percent Louisiana (12 percent) Oklahoma (11 percent) Wyoming (8 percent) and New Mexico (5 percent). Among the states where most of the fatalities occurred, New Mexico (45.2 per 100,000) and Wyoming (58.5 per 100,000) had the highest average annual fatality rates, compared with Oklahoma (33.3 per 100,000), Louisiana (29.2 per 100,000), and Texas (25.3 per 100,000).
If legislation in Wyoming passes H.R. 273 (recently introduced by Rep. Keith Gingery, R-Jackson) oil and gas companies may owe a duty of care to contractors on their work sites. The bill would make companies liable for injuries or deaths of all contract employees or service providers at work sites.
Historically, the courts have found that big oil and gas operators have not been responsible, but supporters of this proposed bill argue that the companies are involved in day-to-day activities and should be held accountable for their own negligence in the event of a death or injury to workers. Some state laws, such as those in Wyoming, offer the company protection from wrongful injury and death lawsuits and injuries are paid out from the workers' compensation fund.
If this bill is passed, lobbyists for the oil and gas industry said it will prompt more lawsuits. Meanwhile, oil and gas accidents generally occur at work sites where the employer and/or employee is negligent, therefore injuries and death are covered by workers' compensation. But if a third party is involved (i.e., someone or some other entity, such as a defective product, not associated with your employer) a claim will likely exist. Regardless, if you or a loved one has sustained an oil and gas injury, you should seek legal help.
Oil and Gas Accident Legal Help
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