The oil and gas extraction industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers. Many of these workers are engaged in various industrial processes necessary to successfully drill and service a well, or otherwise extract oil. Further, many of these processes require specialized equipment and specialized crews.
Between 2003 and 2011, 823 oil and gas extraction workers were killed while working – an on-the-job fatality rate seven times greater than the rate for all U.S. industries (Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries). The U.S. Department of Labor lists the following hazards and incidents that can result in fatalities for oil and gas workers:
- Vehicle accidents
- Struck-by, caught-in, or caught-between
- Confined spaces
- Chemical exposure
Rights of Injured Oil Field Workers
Oil field workers have a right to a safe workplace. Under the law, employers must provide employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. In fact, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) law prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for exercising these rights. This includes the right to raise a health and safety concern, or to report an injury.
The majority of private sector workers come under OSHA's jurisdiction. OSHA covers private sector employers and employees in all 50 states. As an oil field worker, you have the right to report a work-related injury or illness. Under OSHA law, your employer must have a process for injured workers to report a workplace injury or illness, and to ensure that you can take advantage of this process.
Workers' Compensation or a Personal Injury Claim?
Workers' compensation is a state-regulated insurance program that provides covered employees with income and benefits if they are injured on the job or suffer from an occupational illness. Texas, however, allows private employers to choose whether or not to provide workers' compensation coverage for their employees. In the majority of cases, your employer must notify you whether or not they will be providing this coverage.
If you work for an operator who does not carry workers' compensation insurance, you may be entitled to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. Regardless of your employer's insurance situation, whenever you suffer life-altering injuries as a result of oilfield or gas industry work, your rights to medical treatment and financial compensation should be zealously protected.
At The Daspit Law Firm, you gain the advantage of working with a former insurance defense lawyer who understand both sides of the courtroom, and who is ready to use his experience to your advantage. Our Beaumont personal injury attorney has a firm grasp on cases involving oil field accidents, as well as Texas' workers' compensation and personal injury laws and how they will impact your case.
You can count on us to carefully review the details of your case and explore every possible avenue for compensation. Call today to learn about our free consultations and contingency fees!