For Texas employees who work in the oil field, the on-the-job dangers are higher than in many other occupations. From fires to vehicle crashes, workers need to be aware of the risks of the job and take extra precautions to prevent serious accidents.
According to Marketplace.org, the rate of fatal work injuries for oil field workers is five times higher than in other industries. Some of the risk factors include heavy equipment and long working hours, although transportation-related issues cause the most fatalities. Unsafe roads, lack of seatbelt use, machismo attitudes and driver fatigue are some of the reasons for fatal crashes, sometimes killing multiple workers at one time. To combat crashes and keep track of how vehicle operators are driving, some companies are using monitors that track the speed and aggressiveness of the drivers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that around 60% of fatalities are due to getting hit by or getting caught in hazards such as falling equipment, moving vehicles and high-pressure lines. Another cause of death is falling from equipment or platforms that are high in the air. Fires and explosions can also be common in the oil field due to the flammable gases and vapors. Other causes of fatalities and accidents are
- Confined spaces such as mud pits and storage tanks
- Machine hazards such as rotating wellhead equipment
- Electrical, mechanical and hydraulic energies
- Ergonomic hazards like lifting heavy materials, working repetitively and reaching overhead
- Leaks or bursts from high-pressure lines
To help decrease the risk of injury and death, OSHA recommends every company has its own safety program based on the relevant hazards. Employees should also wear the appropriate protective clothing and equipment.