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Oil and Gas Worker Deaths Increase with Oil Booms

Oct 3, 2014 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC

When oil booms hit, the number of injuries and deaths rise. Louisiana saw this when the rush began in the state in 2008. In 2009, three men died, then two men in 2010, followed by one death in 2011. There were many others whose lives were spared, but they suffered injuries that had a major effect on their lives. However, when shale development lessens, the injuries and deaths do as well. There has not been a death reported in Louisiana in over one year.

More Oil Means More Potential for Accidents

When the rush occurred in Louisiana in 2008, many workers came to the state to work on the oil fields. Oil and gas extraction is also a high risk job, contributing to the death and injury rate. Some say that the death rate is even higher than reported because emergency response teams are often called to the job sites to respond to heart attacks and other injuries.

Nationally, on the job fatalities increased greatly between 2009 and 2010. For workers in oil and gas extraction, the fatalities in these workplace accidents jumped from 59 in 2009 to 91 in 2010. The most highly cited injuries are from contact with equipment and objects, transportation issues and explosions or fires.

Safety Violations Contribute to Injuries

Some of the Louisiana fatalities resulted from improper work sites. In some cases, citations were issued to the companies for safety violations. The companies that were cited for safety violations were required to pay a fine. There are four different kinds of violations that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues.

  • Willful Citation – indifference or intentional disregard of health and safety of employees
  • Serious violation – substantial probability for serious injury or death because of hazard that the employer knew or of should have known of
  • Repeat violation – same or similar regulation or rule has been violated before by the employer
  • Other than serious violation – violation that would not cause serious injury or death but has a direct relationship to health and safety

Oil and gas extraction work is difficult and dangerous. Employers have a responsibility to look out for their employees as do the companies making the tools that the workers are using. Louisiana workers who have been injured on the job and family members of workers who have been killed on the job may have an opportunity for relief. A personal injury attorney can help Louisiana residents struggling with an on the job injury or death of a family member discover their legal remedies.

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