Within the past few years, North Dakota has transformed into an oil field hotspot. The Bakken Shale has opened up new jobs and employment opportunities. Studies show that oil producers can claim up to 7.4 billion barrels of crude oil, more than California and other states. With concentrated interests on foraging oil and reaping the rewards, where does the average worker's life play into the equation?
As one of the world's most dangerous professions, oil drilling claims more lives than any other U.S. job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 112 workers died in 2011, while 43 individuals from other mining professions lost their lives. The disparity in numbers illustrates the dangerous nature of working on an oil rig. With the staggering numbers of injuries and fatalities, it is important to know the dangers workers face.
Dangers Present on an Oil Rig
One of the leading causes of death on an oil rig is fire. Petroleum is a naturally combustible element. When it is mixed with other hazardous chemicals, such as hydrogen sulfide, the risk of a fire significantly increases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate 7 percent of all oil rig fatalities are caused by fire accidents. Just recently, a 52-year old oil field worker recently died in a fire at the heart of the shale basins in our state, with 2 young workers suffering severe and life-altering injuries from the massive explosion.
Oil mining is a rigorous occupation that requires physical labor and long hours. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average miner works between 7 and 14 days in a row, with each day requiring at least eight or more hours of demanding work. Exhaustion interferes with cognitive and motor skills, often delaying reaction times. This can make workers more susceptible to accidents with machinery or falls.
Oil mining requires the use of heavy machinery, including drills, cranes, forklifts, and more. If the equipment is not properly maintained, it can malfunction. Furthermore, employees need to be completely cognizant when operating such machines. Given the long hours and tiring nature of the job, too many workers fall victim to negligent machine operation. Recently, a Mountrail County man died after being crushed by an overhead crane.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates an average of seven percent of oil field workers die because of falls. With hazardous materials on the floor and falling tools, workers can easily lose their balance and fall. It is the responsibility of the employers to maintain safe environments and uphold strict protocol.
An oil rig accident can cause serious injury and potential death. The devastation of such events can impact not only the worker, but their family. The oil rig accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP believe responsible individuals should be held accountable for the pain their negligence caused.Don't get cheated out of the compensation you deserve. Contact our lawyers today for a free consultation.