Law Office of Michael R. De La Paz

Prevent falls in oil fields

When Texas residents work in oil fields, there are many hazards they might face each day. However, some people may be surprised to learn that falls pose as much of a danger as other hazards. 

Over the past decade, falls have caused the deaths of numerous oil field workers. Safety and Health magazine says that between 2005 and 2014, 63 people died after falling. These falls took place when people removed drill pipes from wellbores and also when they were performing rigging duties. Although some people may think that the workers involved in these fatal falls were not wearing fall protection, this is not the case. Many of these workers used fall protection; however, in some situations, the equipment failed or was not adequately secured. One study investigating falls found that people fell from derrick boards in 35 percent of these incidents, while more than half of the workers killed in a fall fell at least 30 feet. Additionally, people in Texas experienced 41 percent of these incidents.

It is important for people to make sure they take precautions to prevent falls. According to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, oil field workers should usually make sure they know where they might encounter hazards when they work on servicing rig floors or drilling floors. It is also recommended that people take note of areas where a worker might be more likely to fall; these places should usually have guardrails. Keeping debris away from work areas can also decrease a person's chances of falling. It is a good idea for people to make sure they clean up oil spills and do not leave tools lying around.

Additionally, people may want to pay close attention to stairs and ladders. Before workers install stairs, they should generally make sure the stairs are in good condition. It is also a good idea to fix ladders with missing rungs. Even with the best precautions, people may sometimes overlook hazards, so they should usually inspect their job site before beginning work.

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