Common Causes of Oilfield Accidents

Working in an oilfield is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. This is why oil companies strive to ensure that their workers operate in a safe environment by implementing strict rules as well as training their employees in proper practices. However, accidents are inevitable in this type of environment.  


Surveys show that around 4.2% of all oil and gas workers experience accidents and injuries while on the job. Furthermore, from 2007 to 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded approximately 663 fatalities linked to oilfield accidents nationwide. 


Law firms, such as Schmidt & Clark, LLP, continuously assist unfortunate employees to get the appropriate compensation they deserve and need. 


To help everyone avoid and prevent this type of dangerous situation, here’s a list of the common causes of oil field accidents: 



Fires are one of the most common causes of oil field accidents today. The smallest spark can very easily set the whole oilfield aflame — erupting storage tanks and pipelines. Oilfield explosions can cause hundreds of injuries and even death, which is why there are strict regulations applied to using welding tools and other materials in an area with so many volatile substances. 


Equipment Malfunctions

Equipment failure in an oilfield can be detrimental to the safety and security of the workers operating the facility. Even the smallest leak from a corroded pipeline or a tiny crack in the storage tank can cause a massive explosion in the oilfield. Malfunctioning drilling equipment and other large machinery can also put workers’ safety at risk. 


Inadequate Training

If there’s one thing that great companies recognize it’s that your organization is only as good as its employees. The people you hire are the people who are going to be operating your business most of the time. Therefore, it only makes sense that you’d want to train them in the proper utilization of tools and resources in your company. 


That said, workers who are poorly trained can put your company’s productivity and the lives of other employees at risk. It can also cost the company tons of money in terms of medical bills and compensation for employees.


Failing to Comply with Industry Standards

In an ideal world, oilfield operators would put industry standards and regulations at top priority if needed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for many oil companies and facilities. Most operators are more interested in the money they will save by taking inexpensive shortcuts than they are in preserving employee safety and security. 


This type of negligence and deliberate avoidance of laws and regulations puts employees at risk by forcing them to work in unsafe environments. 


Neglecting Regular Equipment Inspections

When you’re running a massive business, such as an oilfield or gas company, it’s important to conduct regular equipment inspections. This way, operators will be able to spot irregularities and damages before they become a much bigger problem. 


Regular equipment inspections also help ensure that different tools in a facility are calibrated correctly. 


For example, the valves and pumps found in oil rigs need to stay at a certain pressure level when in operation. If the pressure is too high, there’s a much higher chance that an explosion may occur. On the other hand, if the pressure is too low, it may be a sign that there’s a leak somewhere in the facility.


Checking up on these things can ensure that no malfunction affects the efficiency of your equipment. 


Unfortunately, this is an aspect of running an oil company that most operators fail to keep up with. 


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