Oilfield Injuries in Louisiana
Louisiana’s oilfields and offshore drilling sites are very dangerous places to work. On any given day, there could be a chemical spill, fire, explosion, leak, or blowout, and possibly all of the above. These events are possible even when a jobsite is well-maintained, but too often, vehicles, pipelines, storage containers, and other oil drilling equipment are not properly inspected or safely functioning. In these cases, workers who sustain oilfield injuries may be entitled to compensation for their damages beyond traditional workers’ compensation.
Causes of Louisiana Oilfield Injuries
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 120 fatalities related to the oil and gas industry occur each year, with thousands more oilfield workers and visitors suffering injuries. Oilfield injuries and accidents can have many causes, and are frequently attributed to:
- Failure to follow safety standards and procedures
- Failure to properly communicate new safety standards and procedures
- Failure to provide proper training to all oilfield workers at all levels
- Failure to protect and instruct visitors to the jobsite
- Failure to provide proper safety equipment, such as helmets, goggles, and suits
- Failure to provide adequate fire suppression equipment
- Cracks and fissures in pipes, lines, and other means of fluid and air transport
- Cracks and fissures in oil storage units, such as oil tanks and trucks
- Improper storage of dangerous materials or fluids
- Failure to maintain or replace old or malfunctioning equipment
- Delays in inspecting, maintaining, or repairing equipment
- Improper construction of equipment or safety items, such as frames, steps, and rails
- Failure to report and cite violations
Despite better oil drilling equipment and procedures than were available in the past, the increased demand for (and price of) crude oil frequently causes oil companies to hire inexperienced workers, to train them too quickly and superficially, and to allow equipment to fall into dangerous disrepair. The demand for oil should not compromise oilfield workers’ safety. At The Trainor Law Firm, we take this issue—and these industry deficits—very seriously when representing victims of oilfield injuries.
Most Common Types of Oilfield Injuries
Oilfield workers often need to work on drilling platforms and structures that are located high above the ground.
Oilfield workers can get struck by heavy objects or objects falling from great heights and sustain serious injuries. Common examples of struck-by hazards include:
- Workers might accidentally drop their tool or any other object from an elevated structure.
- Cranes or derricks might malfunction, or the operator might fail to maneuver them properly, causing the load to fall on one or more workers at the ground level.
- Workers might be struck by vehicles used for transporting materials in and out of the oilfield – due to the negligence of the drivers, mechanical failure, and other reasons.
- Workers might be struck by moving parts in heavy machinery – due to the lack of machine guards.
One of the biggest risks associated with struck-by accidents is that the victims are often struck in the head or neck by falling objects – which can cause serious injuries to the brain or the spinal cord.
Caught-In and Caught-Between Injuries
Workers might get caught in a moving machine, get caught between the moving parts of a machine, or get caught between a machine and another object – due to lack of machine guards, lack of proper safety protocols, or human error.
If an elevated structure or equipment collapses, workers could get struck by the disintegrating components or get trapped underneath the structure and sustain severe injuries.
The risk of fires and explosions is persistent in oil rigs, as workers have to store, handle, and transport combustible materials on a daily basis.
Exposure to harmful chemicals and other hazardous materials – especially in confined spaces – can be lead to nausea, vomiting, rashes, and loss of consciousness. Regular exposure to these chemicals can result in internal organ damage in the long term and increase the risk of life-threatening diseases like cancer.
It takes a significant amount of electricity to power the equipment used in oilfields. In the absence of OSHA-recommended safety protocols, workers could suffer electrical injuries including thermal burns, muscle, nerve, and tissue damage, and broken bones (caused by falling after coming into contact with electricity).
Attorney Brian F. Trainor has worked in the oil business, during college he spent time working side by side with others in the oil refinery industry and has witnessed first hand, the dangers these workers face each day. As a lawyer, he has experience representing those affected by the dangers of drilling and the devastating ramifications of offshore and oilfield injuries, drawing on federal laws, like The Jones Act, Louisiana state laws, and OSHA violations to support his clients’ cases.
Contact an Experienced Louisiana Oilfield Injuries Lawyer
The Trainor Law Firm in Covington is prepared to take on the oil and gas companies endangering the lives of oilfield and offshore workers. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed while working offshore or in a Louisiana oilfield, please contact us immediately to schedule a free initial consultation. We’ll start working right away to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.