How are oilfield accident cases different from typical injury cases?
Extreme energy sources in oil fields increase the likelihood of electrocution.
Working in an oilfield brings a wide array of dangerous experiences, many of which can lead to debilitating injuries. When a person works in an oil field, there is a good chance that they will be injured. Common injuries in the oilfields differ from injuries in other occupations, often because of their severity.
Causes of Common Injuries in Oil Fields
Working in an oilfield is considerably more dangerous work than average. Due to the high risk working environment of an oilfield, many injuries can lead to more serious results and possibly death.
Fires and explosions
Oilfield workers regularly work with the risk of fire and explosion. Wells, tanks and heavy trucks can release flammable gases, increasing the risk of ignition. If open flames, static electricity, friction, and other sources of electricity ignite, the result can be catastrophic. Burns resulting from these types of accidents occur more frequently in oil fields. While some burns can be minor, others can lead to permanent damage and disfigurement of victims.
When pressurized systems fail in crude oil wells, it can cause an uncontrollable spill of crude oil or a release of natural gas. When mixed with spark, friction or open flame, a devastating fire can occur. Surface eruptions can cause debris, mud, oil and rocks to be thrown out of the well, causing injury to the crew above. Modern pressure control systems prevent these types of accidents; however, despite the implementation of these systems, well blowouts continue to occur.
Working in an oil field increases your risk of exposure to toxic chemicals. Some chemicals are inherently toxic. Others become toxic when mixed with other chemicals commonly found in oil fields. All workers must be properly trained and protected from harmful exposure to these chemicals.
Exposure to chemicals can occur through the air you breathe, the water you drink, and drilling waste. Many injuries from chemical exposure may not manifest until some time after the damage has already occurred. A diagnosis of toxic exposure can take years.
Extreme energy sources in oil fields increase the likelihood of electrocution. Electrocution occurs from injuries in oil fields for several causes, including:
- Misuse of machines and equipment,
- Dangerous working conditions,
- Failure to comply with appropriate protective measures, and
- Inadequate training.
Electrical shock injuries can cause severe burns as well as permanent tissue damage. Workers involved in such accidents can also face amputation or traumatic brain injury.
A common way that oilfield workers suffer work-related injuries is in the form of burns. When a worker touches faulty equipment, comes in contact with damaged electrical equipment, or makes a mistake on the job, fires and explosions can result. Any form of chemical explosion or exposed power lines creates hazardous situations. These events occur quickly, leaving no time for workers to escape to safety before suffering catastrophic burns. A severe burn often leaves a person changed forever. First and second degree burns can cause minor injuries. However, third and fourth degree burns cause permanent problems that can last a lifetime. Limited mobility and in some cases amputation may occur. In addition, the disfigurement can cause significant emotional distress for the victim and family members.