Skip to Main Content

The Most Common Causes of Oilfield Explosions and Accidents

Most Common Causes of Oilfield Explosions and Accidents | Undefeated Oilfield Injury Lawyer

Oilfields offer some of the nation’s best-paying occupations, with many oil and gas industry workers commanding six-figure wages.

But these aren’t standard 9-5 jobs. To earn their high pay, oilfield employees must endure long hours, intense physical labor, and some of the most dangerous workplace conditions imaginable.

Most Oilfield Explosions and Accidents are Preventable

The truth is, the oil and gas industry has one of the highest severe injury rates in the United States. And while kicks, blowouts, and devastating explosions tend to get the most media coverage, other more mundane hazards — malfunctioning equipment, motor vehicles, falling objects, and even poison gas – put oilfield workers at risk every single day they’re on the job.

Having successfully represented thousands of oil and gas workers across Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and throughout the United States, our Undefeated Oilfield Explosion Lawyers have found that the majority of catastrophic accidents and explosions are entirely preventable.

While oilfield operators are responsible for seeing that their employees are adequately trained and protected from hazards, far too many neglect even the most basic safety precautions in their rush to extract as much oil and gas from the ground as quickly as possible.

Common Causes of Oilfield Explosions

Like many preventable accidents involving the oil and gas industry, oilfield explosions often result from defective equipment, unsafe drilling procedures, and a failure to follow standard safety practices:

  • Fires: Even the smallest spark from a welding tool or other sources can ignite a fire if allowed to come into contact with any of the volatile gases or liquids present on an oilfield. Explosions may erupt as the flames spread to storage tanks, pipelines, and any other infrastructure that holds or carries hazardous substances.
  • Well Blowouts: A blowout occurs when a well’s pressure control system fails, resulting in an uncontrolled release of oil, gas, and debris from the well. Any accidental spark that comes in contact with escaping oil and gas can trigger an explosion during a blowout.
  • Malfunctioning Equipment: The heavy equipment and complex machinery used in drilling operations require regular maintenance to function safely and effectively.  Even the smallest leak from a corroded pipeline or damaged storage tank can trigger an explosion if allowed to come into contact with an ignition source.
  • Inadequate Training: An inadequately trained worker is a danger to everyone on an oilfield. But while oil and gas operators should ensure that all employees meet the specific training requirements for their jobs, a shortage of experienced workers, combined with the rush to produce, often leads companies to bring on new hires before they’ve received the training needed to safely perform their jobs.
  • Failure to Comply with Industry Regulations: While the oil and gas industry is subject to regulations intended to protect workers and the environment from disaster, our Undefeated Oilfield Explosion Lawyers have encountered far too many operators willing to ignore safety standards in the name of profit. Unsafe conditions and procedures greatly increase the likelihood of a fire, explosion, or other accident on an oilfield.

Common Causes of Oilfield Injuries and Death

Explosions aren’t the only danger facing workers in the oil and gas industry. In fact, oilfield workers are much more likely to suffer serious and fatal injuries due to:

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), roughly 4 of every 10 oil and gas workers killed on the job die due to a highway vehicle crash.

Oilfield trucks often transport workers and equipment to well sites in remote areas.  Because it’s not unusual for drivers in the oil and gas industry to work consecutive 12-hour shifts without taking adequate breaks or time off to rest, driver fatigue is a leading cause of oilfield truck accidents.

Oilfield Injuries from Struck By/ Caught In/ Caught Between Hazards

Moving vehicles, heavy equipment, high-pressure lines and hoses, overhead cranes, and cables all pose hazards in the oil and gas industry. In fact, three out of five oilfield deaths occur when workers are struck by falling objects or caught in or between machinery and other equipment.

Oilfield Slip and Fall Hazards

Oilfield workers are often required to access platforms and equipment high above the ground. Depending on nature and severity, slip and fall accidents can cause broken bones, skull fractures and other traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, and even death.

Oilfield Injuries in Confined Spaces

Oil and gas employees frequently enter confined spaces — storage tanks, mud pits, reserve pits and other excavated areas, and sand storage containers – while working near a wellhead.  Hazards associated with confined spaces include the ignition of flammable liquids or gases, exposure to toxic chemicals, asphyxiation, and death.

Hydrogen Sulfide Gas on an Oilfield

Hydrogen sulfide gas (sour gas) is a colorless gas produced when organic materials – including oil and natural gas – decompose. While a “rotten egg” odor characterizes sour gas, long-term exposure to low levels can rob an individual of their ability to smell hydrogen sulfide.

Over time, those exposed to low levels may experience headaches, skin complications, respiratory and mucous membrane irritation, respiratory soft tissue damage and degeneration, confusion, impairment of verbal recall, memory loss, and prolonged reaction time. Inhaling high concentrations can quickly lead to unconsciousness and death.

Ergonomic Hazards on an Oilfield

Lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures, and other ergonomic hazards increase the risk of injury on an oilfield. Ergonomic injuries common among oilfield workers include strains, sprains, tendinitis, rotator cuff/shoulder injuries, knee injuries, and lower back pain.

Oilfield Energy Hazards

Whether mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical, oilfield workers exposed to uncontrolled energy hazards risk burns, electrocution, cuts, lacerations, bone fractures, and amputations. To prevent these accidents, oil and gas companies must ensure all powered equipment and machinery  is properly designed, installed, and maintained.

Our Undefeated Oilfield Accident Lawyers Can Help. Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consult.

If you or a loved one were injured or tragically killed in connection with an oilfield explosion or accident, it’s critical that you take the necessary steps to protect your rights—and your future.

Our Undefeated Oilfield Accident Lawyers know what it takes to win against the largest oil and gas operators in the world. Along with being undefeated, we’ve won billions — including the #1 Largest Oilfield Accident Settlement for an individual in US History #1 Largest Oilfield Burn Settlement for an individual in US History – for oilfield workers across Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and throughout the United States.

Please call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to submit a confidential email through our “Contact Us” form.

Your consultation is completely free, and because we only represent clients for a contingency fee, you won’t pay anything unless we win your case.