It is no secret that the oil and gas industry is a thriving business sector that continually brings in new employees. It is also no secret that the oil and gas industry is a labor-intensive and dangerous industry that has its fair share of workplace accidents. As a result, many employees die or suffer catastrophic injuries that change their life forever.
To be fair, there are other industries that are “more dangerous” — but that relative caveat doesn’t mean much when 2,600 “nonfatal” workplace accidents occurred in the oil and gas industry in 2012 (a five-year high). Additionally, 138 people in the industry died last year as a result of workplace accidents.
The industry likes to point to its rising employment numbers as one cause of these accident rates (more people equals more accidents); and the fact that compared to other industries, the oil and gas industry is actually quite safe. Still, accidents happen, and they will continue to happen. Industries like this place employees around heavy machinery and powerful equipment. The employees may be working in elevated positions, creating a fall risk. The industry needs to do everything in its power to prevent these accidents from happening.
Part of that is thoroughly and properly training employees, and part of it is having the correct protocols and safety measures in place. If a company working in an industrial sector fails to comply with the many rules and regulations that apply to them, any workers injured in an accident would be well within his or her rights to pursue legal action. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration would also investigate any workplace accident — an investigation that could yield critical information for your lawsuit.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Oil and gas fatalities spike with boom,” Anya Litvak, Nov. 30, 2013