Oilfield work is a prominent source of employment in Odessa and other energy-centric areas of Texas. The workers who take part in these jobs take pride in their work, their contribution to society and in providing for their families. Still, there is no denying the potential dangers these workers can face. Among the risks are explosions, fires, falling from a significant height, being trapped between vehicles, electrocution, physical breakdown and more.
Of course, there are safety procedures that the employer, supervisors and lower level workers should follow to try and mitigate the potential for an accident with injuries and death. However, when there is an accident, it is not uncommon for investigations to uncover employers who might have cut corners and placed workers in situations where they faced unneeded danger. Some cases are still ambiguous even after the investigation, making experienced assistance a primary need. After an accident, it is important to understand the potential causes as this could be a fundamental aspect of determining how to proceed.
Fatal accident investigation shows safety flaws
An investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) found that a fatal accident from late-October 2019 was influenced by a lack of proper safety procedures of unknown origin. A man and his wife died when they were overcome by gas at a waterflood station in Odessa. The station is used as part of oil extraction from reservoirs that are located underground. These are frequently used throughout the state as part of this process. The man who died had gone to check the pumps after an alarm sounded.
Water with hydrogen sulfide resulted in the man being gassed and dying. His wife also died when he did not return home and she went to the station to check on him. The investigation was unable to determine if the issue came about before or after the pump automatically activated. It is important to note that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stated the company deserved to be fined more than $105,000 for safety violations after this fatal accident. That included hydrogen sulfide detectors being unused, lockout/tagout policies not being implemented, an absence of safety management, inappropriate security and more.
Oilfield workers should understand their rights after injuries and death
Texas does not need to have workers’ compensation insurance. With that, workers are vulnerable if they suffer injuries or a family loses a loved one in the oilfield. The accident in which the worker and his wife lost their lives is an extreme example of what can happen if companies are not vigilant about ensuring worksites are safe and procedures are known and followed.