Transportation accidents are the most common cause of fatal workplace injuries in the oil and gas extraction industries. This type of accident was responsible for causing close to 50 percent of the industry’s workplace fatalities in 2011. The next most common type of accident involves workers being struck by an object or piece of equipment, resulting in 26 fatalities in 2011 alone. Fires and explosions led to another 12 fatalities during this period of time. It is not uncommon to see more than one worker sustaining fatal injuries in these types of accidents.
The most common non-fatal injuries in the oil industry include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Internal or external chemical burns
- Whiplash or other neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
Oil Industry Accident and Injury Statistics
The oil and gas industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. With more workers on the job comes more risk for injury. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the oil and gas extraction industries account for approximately 70 percent of all mining industry fatalities. This breaks down to 155 fatal occupational injuries in 2011, with 112 coming from the oil and gas industries.
In 2011, the Texas oil and gas industry employed 225,496 workers. In addition to having the highest number of employees working in these particular fields, Texas also recorded the most occupational fatalities for the oil and gas industry.
During this same year, the oil and gas industry also saw approximately 12,500 non-fatal injuries. The most common types of non-fatal workplace injuries involved accidents where the victim was struck by an object or caught between objects, in a piece of equipment or by worksite material.
Does workers’ compensation cover injuries sustained in oil industry accidents?
Most oil industry workers who are injured during the course of their jobs will be eligible to seek benefits by filing a claim with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. Workers’ comp benefits pay for medical treatments, rehabilitation, as well a percentage of loss of income. Individuals who work on oil rigs may qualify to pursue additional compensation, particularly in cases where the accident and injuries sustained can be attributed to negligence. Families who lose loved ones in oil rig accidents may also be eligible to receive compensation in a wrongful death claim.
As an employee, you have the right to be compensated if you are injured while working on the job, especially in a high-risk profession such as the oil industry. In many cases, a third party can be held liable for acts of negligence, and there are frequently other legal avenues through which compensation can be pursued beyond worker’s comp benefits.
How the Workers’ Compensation process works in Texas
The Texas workers’ compensation program provides compensation to individuals who are injured or fall ill while working on the job. This type of insurance pays for a percentage of the injured employee’s lost income during the course of recovery, as well as paying the costs of medical care and treatment. To file a claim with Workers’ Comp an employee simply needs to:
- Report the injury to his or her employer within 30 days of the accident, or from the time the employee became aware that the injury or illness is job-related. Failure to provide proper notification could result in the denial of benefits.
- Fill out and send in DWC Form-041, Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease to the Workers’ Comp Division of the Texas Department of Insurance.