We all remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 — a catastrophic event that killed 11 workers and injured 17 others. An explosion on the rig started a fire that burned in the Gulf of Mexico for nearly two days and released oil into the gulf continuously for 87 days. And while the Deepwater Horizon disaster attracted national attention, in truth dangerous explosions, fires, and chemical releases from oil and gas operations are an all-too-common occurrence in this dangerous profession.
Working in an Inherently Dangerous Profession
Onshore and offshore drilling professions are inherently dangerous. As such, workers in the oil and gas industries are constantly negotiating hazards while on the job. Still, petrochemical accidents too often cause severe injuries that can result in life-long disabilities or fatalities.
Common injuries among oil and gas workers include health issues that arise from long-term exposure to chemicals and other substances, explosions and fires, or equipment failure. Some of these hazards exist simply by nature of the work involved in oil and gas extraction, both other accidents are completely preventable.
Oil and gas workers can be injured as a result of a company’s neglect of equipment maintenance, falls from great heights, improper or lacking tie-downs, carelessness of other employees, inadequate training, or a company’s blatant violation of safety laws or petrochemical industry safety guidelines.
Protecting Oil Field Workers
Texas is one of the nation’s leading oil and gas drilling states. The industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers, and more than 4,000 of them are injured each year. Despite the fact that employees for oil and gas exploration companies have a high probability of becoming injured on the job, oil and gas companies do very little to protect their employees from the dangers of the work.
Both federal and state laws exist to protect offshore drilling workers. For example, the federal Jones Act Law is a maritime law that creates rights for injured offshore drilling workers. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is another federal law that provides medical care, vocational rehabilitation services, and compensation to employees injured on the job while offshore. Workers are also protected by several state laws, including the Texas Workers Compensation Act, Texas Water Safety Act, wrongful death laws, and other state statutes.
Oil and gas workers who are injured on the job can seek compensation from the company or persons responsible for the harm they suffered. Howe’ver, navigating the laws that apply to these cases can be incredibly difficult if not impossible without the help of a skilled attorney. Proving negligence can be difficult, and it takes time to build a strong case. The attorneys at Williams Hart have the skills to file a personal injury claim if you or a loved one has been hurt while working in the oil and gas industries. If these circumstances apply to you, contact our attorneys and see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.