Work in the oil and gas industry has exploded in recent years due to the introduction of fracking. This process has allowed for more efficient extraction of oil and gas. Unfortunately, the efficiency may come at a cost to the employees. With the increase in fracking has also come a corresponding increase in the amount of injuries to the employees at such workplaces. The type of injuries range from injuries due to accidents at these drilling sites to illness from exposure to the more than six hundred chemicals used in the fracking process.
Fracking is considered hazardous work due to the process of working with oil and gas in a high pressure environment. An average gas well requires about four hundred trucks to carry water to the fracking site. As a result, some injuries are due to driver fatigue from having to work long shifts in order to accommodate the volume of fluids needed at the site. In many instances, drivers are working twelve-hour shifts. In North Dakota, for instance, about half of the fracking workplace accidents are due to transportation-related activities. In other states, such accidents are sixty-percent of workplace injuries.
Another type of injury is from falls or being struck by equipment. Although efforts are being made by employers to reduce the incidence of such accidents the industry as a whole is largely unregulated, unlike other highly-hazardous work environments like coal mining. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has workplace regulations in place to ensure basic workplace safety but in many instances employees report that such regulations are often overlooked. OSHA has yet to provide comprehensive regulations specific to the industry and, as a result, are largely reactive to the injuries that are suffered.
Exposure from oil and gas spills, fracking fluids leaking in the air, water, and ground may cause long term injuries that will not be immediately apparent for several years are also potential injuries.
Workers who have been injured in an accident at work should notify their employer immediately and seek medical care. There is a window of time to notify your employer to ensure you can proceed with a claim so it is imperative to do so immediately. Seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney is helpful to ensure you are able to make the best case for your injury.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.