For workers in Georgia and across the country, jobs in the oil and gas industry can pay well and make use of their skills. However, they can also pose a threat of serious accidents and injuries. Even workers who pay close attention to safety rules may be at risk due to shoddy equipment, shifting weather or the inherent danger of oil and gas extraction. Drilling for oil is dangerous; workers in the industry face a fatality rate almost five times as high as all other industries combined. When the industry is on the upswing, it can mean more jobs and more income; however, it can also mean dangerous safety violations and cut corners.
Oil and gas extraction often takes place in extreme temperatures far outside the normal range, another serious danger. Between 2008 and 2017, 1,566 workers died from injuries in the oil and gas fields. Less fatal but still harmful violations are also prevalent. From 2008 through mid-2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited extraction companies 10,873 times. Of these, 64 percent were defined as serious violations, meaning that they were likely to lead to serious physical injury or death. In 3 percent of cases, the violations were repeated, meaning that the company had been cited in the past about the same danger.
In the same period, OSHA investigated 552 injury-causing workplace accidents. Of 11 incidents taking place at one company, violations of federal safety regulations were found in 10. While fines can work to encourage more robust implementation of these rules, amounts are often cut as a part of a settlement.
In many industries, workplace injuries are linked to violations of OSHA regulations by an employer. A workers’ compensation lawyer could help injured workers to protect their rights after an incident and pursue the benefits that they deserve.