The Pennsylvania oilfields still pump out oil every day, although thousands have closed down the past few years. With the drills still working, people have to maintain them.
The oil and gas industry is very labor intensive and has an environment with risks that can cause severe injury or death. Below are three common injuries in the oil and gas industry.
1. Fatigued driving/vehicle collisions
Highway vehicle accidents are the leading cause of fatalities in the oil and gas industry. Workers are on the road either driving back and forth to home or transporting workers and equipment to well sites. They drive long distances to reach sites often in remote areas.
Fatigued driving is a significant cause of crashes. Drowsy driving may be because of:
- Time of day
- Monotonous tasks
- Length of time awake
- Medications and health conditions
2. Explosions and fires
Flammable vapors and gases released from wells, trucks and production equipment expose workers to the risk of explosions and fires. Any work that involves a source of ignition may trigger an accident. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration defines this work as hot work. Hot work includes:
OSHA asks for individuals to work well away from flammable vapors and to stop the job immediately if uncertain about the risks of the work involved.
Falls are a common occurrence in the industry since oil rigs require a lot of climbing. Workers need access to platforms and equipment, which means scaling ladders as much as 100 feet above the ground. The Derrickman may be the most susceptible to these incidents since this is the worker who handles the uppermost part of the drilling column.
OSHA has standards applicable to each of these workplace injuries and has documents that provide guidance on recognizing and controlling the hazards.