As residents of Oklahoma, we are deeply shocked and sorrowful about the recent Pittsburgh County oil rig explosion that cost the lives of several people working on the rig. Tragically, rig explosions and fires are not an uncommon occurrence, despite company efforts to ensure safety of all workers on site. It is critical that all safety regulations are observed to help diminish the risk of this dangerous work.
The Hazards of Oil & Gas Drilling
There are few jobs as dangerous as those involved in gas and oil drilling. Heavy machinery, hazardous and flammable chemicals, and remote locations are all hazards that drilling rig workers face, especially when an emergency occurs. Many rigs also pose significant slip- or trip-and-fall hazards, or even the danger of falling from heights.
In addition to the innate danger of working with heavy machinery and heights, it is possible for the oil well itself to cause issues. Kicks, or an overpressure of gas or hydrogen sulfide, can get into the bore, and easily cause an explosion. Because of this hazard, companies are required to always have an employee onsite who is trained to control kicks in the bore and prevent a catastrophe.
If a rig fails, there can be a number of hazards to contend with. Heavy beams or pieces of equipment can fall or move, which may fall on, strike, or crush workers. Explosions are a very significant danger, especially if emergency shut down systems have been made inaccessible or are not working. Fire can quickly spread throughout the rig, endangering those who are working on the site.
Safety on Drilling Sites
With these significant hazards in mind, it is easy to see why it is crucial that all companies involved in the drilling are prepared for emergencies and take special care in ensuring that all safety guidelines are met. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces strict guidelines and makes regular inspections of drilling sites to watch for violations of these guidelines.
Besides OSHA, it is also the duty of the drilling company to ensure that the site is kept safe and compliant with OSHA requirements. Regular maintenance and repairs, training the crew on proper use of equipment and emergency procedures, and providing the correct tools and safety supplies can help significantly to keep rigs safer and minimize the effects of an emergency situation.
Protecting Workers After Accidents
Oilfield accidents can be devastating to workers and their families. The hazardous worksites many oilfield workers are exposed to every day can cause catastrophic injuries, and even fatal accidents. If you’ve been injured while working around an oil rig, our passionate and experienced Oklahoma personal injury attorneys are ready to protect your rights.
At Martin Jean & Jackson, we are dedicated to helping injured oilfield workers recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. We make ourselves accessible to our clients, and have offices in Ponca City, Stillwater, and Tulsa to provide knowledgeable legal counsel to injured clients throughout Oklahoma.
Contact our offices to discuss your case. Schedule an initial consultation to get started.