You have never had a problem on a drilling site before, but you knew the moment it happened that something had gone terribly wrong. It was your first project with Texas Eastern Pipeline—but since you’d done plenty of similar operations all around New Jersey, it was just another job.
That is, until you woke up in the hospital with an oxygen mask on your face—and you were told that several of your coworkers didn’t make it out at all.
How You Can Tell If an Employer Is Responsible for an Oil and Gas Work Injury
While many oil and gas companies maintain a healthy safety record, some forgo common practices in the name of speed and profit. Workers may be placed under pressure to complete a job more quickly, work longer hours, work through adverse weather conditions, or ignore potentially dangerous working conditions.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers have a particular duty to keep employees safe during gas operations. Any workers who are working near or in a gas drilling site should be protected from potential dangers, including:
- Untested equipment. Replacing large machinery is a costly expense, and one that many companies would rather avoid. As a result, many machines on drilling sites are well past their prime, while still more do not have the required amount of maintenance to keep them running smoothly.
- Poor ventilation systems. OHSA requires that all fans on gas operations have sufficient electrical motors and controls to reverse the air flow. In addition, there are limits on how close employees can be to a gaseous area without proper face and lung protection.
- Fire and explosions. All ventilation systems and corridors should be equipped with explosion doors, and as much safety equipment as possible should be constructed with fire-resistant materials.
- Untrained employees. It may not be a code violation that causes your injury, but one of your coworkers. While drilling, tunneling, cementing and other pipeline operations require seasoned workers, companies may choose to hire inexperienced or untrained workers because they cost less.
Even if you are already receiving workers’ compensation for your injury, you should have your work accident investigated to discover whether an employer could be at fault. Download our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide, for more information or click the chat link at the bottom of this page to get started on your case.