Were You Injured in an Oil Rig Fire?
Dedicated Personal Injury Attorneys Advocating for You
Also known as blowouts, oil rig fires are one of the most dangerous types of explosions in the industry. In the process of drilling for oil or gas, the rig goes into pockets of gas that are embedded in sealed-off layers of rock. While the gas has been sealed off, it has built up an incredible pressure. In order to handle this pressure, oil rigs keep the drilling hole full of heavy fluid or drilling mud that blocks the pressure. When the weight of the mud or drilling fluid cannot hold back the pressure, natural gas, oil, or water can "blow out" to the surface and cause a fire or explosion.
If you or a loved one have been injured, you need to call a firm that:
- Understands your case and how to advocate on your behalf
- Has a proven record of success securing compensation for injury victims
- Cares about the individuals and families they represent
- Possesses the skills, resources, and expertise to win your case
Reach out to our Houston personal injury attorneys today so that we can review your oil rig accident claim.
Blowout Preventers Fail Don’t Always Stop Fires
Today, oil rigs have a Blowout Preventer or BOP to seal in the high pressure gases that try to force their way to the surface of the hole being drilled. The blowout preventer acts as a lid on a pressure cooker and is attached to the surface casing that is cemented into the ground before the drilling even starts. Blowout preventers can be installed on land-based or offshore rigs, and may be located as deep as 7,000 feet or more. These devices are designed to stop pockets of gas from rising, but there are some instances when a blowout preventer is not closed fast enough.
As was the case with the recent Gulf oil rig fire, these fires can also be started when an acetylene torch cuts an oil line. The Black Elk Energy Co. oil and natural gas platform that recently caught on fire was a sobering testimony to the devastation caused by these types of fires. Instead of using a saw, the contracted workers onboard the platform used a torch, which cut a line that had 28 gallons of oil in it and ignited after catching vapors.
Oil Rig Fires: Who is Responsible?
Oil rig blowouts are particularly dangerous because there is little to no warning. The oil rig workers must constantly be aware of the amount of fluid in the hole, and must keep an eye on trip tank levels as well. Workers can be responsible for fires on oil rigs when they neglect to use proper safety measures like gas pressurization valves.
In general, the following parties may be held accountable for fires:
- An employer or supervisor
- A negligent co-worker
- A manufacturing company
- A maintenance company
More commonly, however, it is the oil company who is slack in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. Oil companies have a responsibility to stop using equipment that is found to be outdated or unsafe, but many times this does not happen because of financial pressure and the desire to increase profits.
Statistics on Oil & Gas Industry Fires
According to federal labor statistics, the oil and gas industry was responsible for more than 10% of all workplace fatalities related to fires and explosions, with 78 deaths occurring in the industry from 2009 to 2013. Fires and explosions made up the third most frequent cause of fatal accidents (15%) in the oil and gas industry, and this number has grown in recent years. Due to the enormous fuel supply for the fire, oil rig fires are more difficult to extinguish than regular fires. These types of fires may burn for days before crews are able to plug it, which can create an incredible amount of damage during that time, not to mention serious injuries sustained.
Contact Our Experienced Oil Rig Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love have been injured in an oil rig explosion or fire, it is important that you take action to protect your best interests during this time. You have specific rights as an offshore worker, and our firm is here to make sure that you are not taken advantage of by your employer or their insurance company.
Arnold & Itkin LLP has filed lawsuits on behalf of countless injured oil rig workers over the years, including those injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Our team of skilled offshore and oil rig injury lawyers are more than prepared to stand up for your rights during this time. We have unparalleled legal experience in this area of law and can use this to benefit you and your family during this challenging trial.
We are here to protect your best interests and obtain fair compensation. Fill out a free case evaluation now.