The oil and gas industry is one of the most dangerous workplaces in the world, and the hazards are prevalent in Texas, home to around 370 oil rigs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are around 5,000 total recorded cases of workplace injuries nationwide in this sector every year. Forty percent, a total of 2,000, occurred in Texas. Of these affected workers, half will endure days away from work, a job transfer, or job restriction. Fortunately, state laws provide injured employees with options to recoup the devastating losses that result from an oil rig accident.
The process for workplace injuries and occupational diseases can be complicated, since there may be multiple remedies to pursue under different circumstances. To avoid putting your rights at risk, skilled legal representation is essential. You can rely on Husain Law & Associates, P.C. to handle your claim, so please contact us to set up a free consultation. A Houston oil rig accident lawyer can provide details, though an overview may be useful.
Common Injuries in Oil Rig Accidents
An oil rig includes any structure built above an oil well on land or sea, which comprises an apparatus and special equipment for drilling and extracting. Due to the nature of the work environment, severe injuries and even fatalities occur frequently. To extrapolate from BLS data on nonfatal injuries, certain types of trauma are common in oil rig accidents:
- Around 2 percent of workers suffer burns from oil spills, other chemicals, thermal burn injuries, electrocution, and other sources.
- Almost 7 percent of employees sustain traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, or other head injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries, including herniated and bulging discs, affect almost 10 percent of workers who are hurt in oil rig accidents.
- More than one-third of oil and gas workers are injured by sprains, strains, and tears to muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Though they represent less than 1 percent of all injuries in oil rig accidents, amputation of digits, extremities, and limbs can lead to permanent disability.
How Oil Rig Accidents Happen
Some incidents are the result of failure to comply with the General Duty Clause established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which requires all employers to provide employees with a safe workplace. There are also specific regulations for the oil and gas industry, including rules applicable to oil rigs. The most frequent violations by employers involve standards on:
- Fall protection;
- Respiratory protection;
- Working on ladders, scaffolding, and platforms;
- Lockout/Tagout, a term that refers to the procedures in place for disabling machinery to prevent the release of hazardous energy – a significant concern in the oil and gas industry; and,
- Implementing guards on machinery.
When employers do not comply with OSHA standards and ensure a safe work environment, employees could be injured by slips, trips, and falls on hazardous surfaces. Explosions and fires are a risk in this industry as well, and even weather can be a factor in oil rig accidents. Plus, employment-related transportation collisions are a top cause of injuries in all industries, so oil and gas workers are affected as well.
Remedies for Injured Victims
Unlike other US states, Texas does not mandate that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees who are injured or killed in accidents. However, most employers do carry a policy or other safeguards for workers, so your rights come through a workers’ comp claim. Benefits are available for medical costs, wage replacement, and permanent or temporary disability. Surviving family members can also obtain death benefits after a fatal incident. Our Houston oil rig accident attorneys will handle the claims process and work with the insurance company to get the full amount you are entitled to by law.
Workers’ compensation is your sole remedy in most cases, but the team at Husain Law & Associates, P.C. can explain whether you qualify to sue your employer in court. Under certain circumstances, you can file a civil lawsuit to recover damages that workers’ comp does not pay. Examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring and disfigurement, and many more.
Set Up a Free Consultation with a Houston Oil Rig Accident Lawyer
It is a relief to know that you have multiple options after being injured in a workplace accident, but you can see that legal representation is critical. Our team at Husain Law & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to pursuing your remedies, whether through a workers’ comp or personal injury claim. Please contact us today at 713-800-1200 or visit our website to schedule a no-cost case review with a Texas oil rig accident attorney.
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