Oil and Gas Field Accidents
“You may be eligible for more than worker’s compensation. Oil and gas field accidents are often the result of defective equipment or negligence on the part of another subcontractor.”
- Partner, Scott Nutter
Were You Injured While Working in the Oil and Gas Fields?
The oil and gas fields throughout Kansas, Oklahoma and eastern Nebraska employ hundreds of workers and supply much of our nation’s oil and natural gas. Working conditions in the field and along the pipeline routes are also among the most dangerous in the country. Every year, workers are killed or injured in pipeline explosions, industrial accidents and truck accidents transporting petroleum products.
If you or a family member has been injured in an oil or gas field accident, you can rely on the attorneys of Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman to help you protect your rights.
We represent workers and families in every type of personal injury or wrongful death claim resulting from oil and gas field accidents.
Call (816) 542-5999 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
Understanding Oil and Gas Field Accidents
The oil and gas extraction process involves a series of intricate and interconnected operations, from drilling and exploration to production and transportation. This industry plays a crucial role in powering our modern world, providing the energy needed for transportation, heating, and electricity generation. However, the extraction and processing of these valuable resources come with inherent risks, and accidents in oil and gas fields can have devastating consequences.
Here are some of the common types of oil and gas field accidents:
- Blowouts: A blowout occurs when there is an uncontrolled release of oil, gas, or drilling fluids from a well. This can happen during drilling operations when the pressure control systems fail, leading to a sudden and forceful discharge of hydrocarbons. Blowouts pose a significant risk of explosions, fires, and environmental damage.
- Well Control Incidents: Well control incidents involve the loss of control over the pressure within the wellbore. This can lead to the uncontrolled release of oil, gas, or other fluids. Well control incidents may result from equipment failures, human errors, or a combination of factors. Rapid intervention and well control measures are critical to preventing blowouts.
- Explosions and Fires: The presence of flammable substances in oil and gas operations makes explosions and fires a constant risk. Sparks, equipment malfunctions, or ignition sources can lead to catastrophic incidents. These accidents pose immediate threats to workers' safety, equipment integrity, and can result in significant property damage.
- Chemical Spills and Leaks: Accidental releases of hazardous chemicals, either during drilling, production, or transportation, can lead to chemical spills and leaks. These incidents can contaminate soil, water, and air, posing environmental hazards. Proper handling, storage, and transport of chemicals, as well as effective containment measures, are essential for preventing such accidents.
- Pipeline Failures: Pipelines are a critical component of the oil and gas infrastructure. Failures in pipelines can occur due to corrosion, mechanical damage, or third-party interference. Pipeline accidents may result in leaks, spills, and fires, impacting both the environment and public safety.
- Vehicle Accidents: The transportation of oil and gas involves a significant number of vehicles, including trucks, tankers, and support vehicles. Accidents during transportation, such as collisions or rollovers, can lead to spills, fires, and injuries. Strict safety protocols for transportation and driver training are crucial to reducing the risk of vehicle-related accidents.
- Structural Failures: Structural failures in equipment, such as drilling rigs, platforms, or processing facilities, can result in accidents. This can be due to factors like poor maintenance, material fatigue, or unexpected environmental conditions. Regular inspections, maintenance, and adherence to structural integrity standards are essential for preventing such incidents.
- Human Falls and Injuries: Working at heights, on offshore platforms or drilling rigs, increases the risk of falls and other injuries. Slippery surfaces, inadequate safety measures, or improper use of personal protective equipment can contribute to human falls. Training, proper safety equipment, and adherence to safety procedures are crucial for preventing such accidents.
- Equipment Malfunctions: Malfunctions in critical equipment, such as pressure control systems, valves, or safety devices, can lead to accidents. Regular maintenance, inspections, and the use of advanced monitoring technologies are essential for identifying and addressing equipment malfunctions before they escalate.
- Natural Disasters: Oil and gas facilities are vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods. These events can damage infrastructure, leading to spills, leaks, or other accidents. Robust disaster preparedness and response plans are essential for minimizing the impact of natural disasters on oil and gas operations.
Human factors play a significant role in contributing to oil and gas field accidents. Despite advancements in technology and safety protocols, the potential for errors and accidents remains due to various human-related factors.
The common human factors that contribute to oil and gas field accidents include:
- Fatigue: Long working hours, irregular schedules, and extended shifts are common in the oil and gas industry, leading to worker fatigue. Fatigue can impair cognitive functions, decrease alertness, and slow reaction times, increasing the likelihood of errors. Fatigued workers may overlook safety procedures, misinterpret information, or make poor decisions, all of which can contribute to accidents.
- Inadequate Training: Proper training is crucial for ensuring that workers are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their tasks safely. Inadequate training can lead to misunderstandings of equipment operation, safety protocols, and emergency response procedures. Workers who are not adequately trained may be more prone to making mistakes that can result in accidents.
- Communication Breakdowns: Effective communication is essential in high-risk industries like oil and gas. Miscommunication between workers, inadequate sharing of information, or misunderstandings of instructions can lead to accidents. Clear communication is especially critical during shift changes, handovers, and emergency situations. Implementing robust communication protocols and promoting a culture of open communication can help prevent misunderstandings.
- Complacency: Workers in the oil and gas industry may become complacent due to routine tasks or a perception of low risk, especially in environments where safety procedures are not strictly enforced. Complacency can lead to a lax attitude toward safety protocols, overlooking potential hazards, and failing to follow established procedures. Regular safety training, awareness campaigns, and a proactive safety culture are essential to combat complacency.
- Pressure to Meet Production Targets: The oil and gas industry is often characterized by high-pressure work environments where meeting production targets is paramount. Workers may feel pressured to cut corners or bypass safety measures to meet deadlines. This pressure can compromise safety standards, leading to increased risks of accidents. Balancing production goals with safety priorities is crucial to maintaining a secure working environment.
- Lack of Situational Awareness: Workers need to be aware of their surroundings and potential hazards to make informed decisions. A lack of situational awareness can result from distractions, multitasking, or inadequate training. In high-risk environments, this lack of awareness can contribute to accidents, as workers may not recognize warning signs or take appropriate precautions.
- Substance Abuse: Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug misuse, can significantly impair a worker's ability to perform tasks safely. Impaired judgment, decreased coordination, and reduced cognitive function increase the likelihood of accidents. Implementing strict substance abuse policies, conducting regular screenings, and providing support programs can help address this human factor.
- Worker Attitude and Motivation: The attitude and motivation of workers toward safety can influence their behavior on the job. A positive safety culture, where workers prioritize safety and look out for their colleagues, can contribute to accident prevention. Conversely, a negative attitude or lack of motivation to adhere to safety protocols may lead to increased risks.
Success Means More Than Just Settlements and Verdicts
Our attorneys understand that a serious injury or wrongful death case will have an impact on your family beyond money damages. Everything changes. Your entire future as a family is at stake.
Our staff is caring, compassionate and committed to providing the highest level of client services and responsive communication. We will help you get every resource you need as your case progresses toward a settlement or verdict.
Contact our oil & gas field accident lawyers to learn more about our record of success. Our experienced trial attorneys represent clients in cases throughout Missouri, Kansas and the Midwest.