An oilfield is a dangerous place to work, but they are a driving force in Texas’s economy. Given how many there are, it’s just a matter of time before mistakes are made or someone does something unsafe because they lack training or equipment fails. Workers will pay the price, suffering injuries and sometimes death due to many incidents, including explosions.
If you experienced an explosion-related injury while working in an oilfield, reach out to The Law Giant to explore your options for legal representation and your case for recovering damages.
Common Causes of Oilfield Injuries
Those working in oilfields have many jobs, work on different equipment, and face a long list of hazards. Some of the most common injuries that happen when a worker is:
- Driving a vehicle and hits another or strikes a worker
- Slips and falls
- Working with defective equipment which fails
- On or near a rig that collapses
- Injured in an explosion
- Inhales poison gas
What Causes Oilfield Explosions?
Workers face risks of fire and explosion due to the ignition of flammable vapors or gases. Combustible gases (including well gases, vapors, and hydrogen sulfide) can leak from wells, trucks, production, or surface equipment.
Ignition can come from static electricity, other electrical sources, hot surfaces, open flames, lightning, cigarettes, cutting and welding tools, and frictional heat, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Faulty equipment, mistakes caused by inadequate training, or employers failing to comply with safety rules, regulations, and industry best practices may also be blamed. They set the stage for an explosion because mismanagement and greed lead to a work culture where safety isn’t a priority.
Another source of fuel for an explosion could be a well blowout. This can happen when a well’s pressure control system fails. There’s an uncontrolled release of oil, gas, and debris from the well. Any spark or source of high heat that contacts the escaping oil and gas can trigger an explosion.
The Dangers of Hot Work
Ignition could be caused by those performing “hot work.” This type of work involves burning, welding, cutting, brazing, soldering, grinding, using fire or spark-producing tools, or other work that produces an ignition source.
Combine this work with flammable liquids, gases, or vapors, and you could have an explosion. They could be in barrels, drums, storage tanks, frac tanks, or pipes. Most equipment and tanks at an oilfield contain hydrocarbons which can leave a residue that emits flammable vapors. Hydrocarbons are organic chemical compounds that are the basis of crude oil and natural gas.
What are Common Oilfield Explosion Injuries?
Explosions can be relatively small if a limited amount of gas or fumes is involved. They can also be significant events if there’s enough fuel to feed them. Injuries and how serious they are can depend on the size of the explosion, how close the worker is to it, and how much debris was thrown.
The explosion produces a shock wave that can cause traumatic injuries because workers may be violently pushed into each other or equipment.
Burns are caused by the heat from gases, vapors, or liquids that ignite rapidly. They can also be caused when a burning liquid is sprayed onto the employee. Severe burns can be incredibly painful cause lifetime disabilities and extensive scarring. Treatment is often at specialized burn centers. Because of the victim’s weakened condition, many of those with severe burns may suffer potentially fatal infections.
Workers can suffer concussions and traumatic brain injuries due to the explosion’s shockwave. An employee’s head could rapidly snap back and forth or contact a solid object like a piece of equipment or a vehicle.
A worker’s lungs could be burned by inhaling air heated by the explosion. Lungs could also suffer harm due to inhaling toxic gases or vapors released before or after the explosion.
If the explosion is strong enough, the shockwave’s force could injure a worker’s internal organs.
Workplace Safety Standards
No matter what happens, a worker in an oilfield explosion should get medical attention as soon as possible if they are hurt. There are numerous regulations concerning safe working conditions for those employed at well sites, and high safety standards are in place requiring machinery maintenance, personal protective equipment, environmental protections. Explosions can happen because those safety rules were ignored or despite the fact they were followed.
Injured in an Oilfield Explosion? The Law Giant Can Help
If you were injured while working at an oilfield, call Begum Law Group Injury Lawyers today at 866-523-4167. If we find the at-fault party was not a coworker or manager, then The Law Giant will guide you through an injury-at-work claim. You can also reach out to us online to schedule a free, no-risk initial consultation.