The oil and gas industry has often claimed that the rate of injuries among workers in this field is below the national average.
However, the reporting of injuries and fatalities was inconsistent at best until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced a rule change.
Reasons for injuries
Injuries in the oil and gas industry often occur when a worker inadvertently traps a body part such as a finger in a piece of machinery. But there are many reasons for injuries, including:
- Fires or explosions: Production equipment can release flammable vapors and gases that open flames, static electricity or other such sources can ignite.
- Equipment failures: While performing jobs such as drilling or pulling pipe, workers must operate heavy equipment that can fail and cause serious injury or death.
- Vehicle accidents: Trucks and cars are around work sites constantly and collisions with other vehicles or heavy equipment cause injuries to workers.
Due to the dangerous working conditions, oil and gas employees can sustain:
- Head injuries including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones and dislocations
- Back and neck injuries ranging from whiplash to spinal cord injuries
- Extremity injuries that may result in amputations
- Burns that result in blistering or scarring
- Skin injuries such as lacerations, punctures and bruises
- Soft tissue injuries including muscle, tendon and ligament tears
The rule change
In past years, OSHA only required oil and gas industry employers to report fatalities or catastrophic instances where three or more workers required hospital stays. However, as of 2015, OSHA now requires employers to report any incident that causes hospitalization or the loss of a body part. Injured workers can rely on legal guidance to ensure proper support in obtaining maximum compensation to cover their medical expenses and more.