How Dangerous Is Oilfield Work in Practice?

Did you know that more than 25,000 workers in the United States died due to fatal job injuries from 2016 to 2020? Of those employees, 536 performed mining, quarrying, oilfield work, or gas extraction jobs. That’s far higher than in many other sectors, even in forestry and logging!

So, if you plan to take on oilfield jobs, it’s vital to know the hazards that come with them and how to avoid such dangers.

We’ve rounded up some of the basic must-learn facts about working in oilfields below, so be sure to read on.

Top Hazards Associated With Oilfield Work

Vehicle incidents are some of the leading causes of worker deaths in the oil and gas industry. A report even found that such accidents were behind over four in 10 fatalities in this sector back in 2017. They caused 29 deaths during that year; 22 occurred in roadways, while 7 cases were on-site.

By contrast, contact injuries accounted for only 24% or two in 10 of deaths. Still, those incidents were the second leading cause of fatality in the oil and gas sector in 2017. Examples include getting struck, caught between, or crushed by objects or machines.

In addition, people who work in gas or oilfield professions are at risk of explosions and fires. Falls, electrical dangers, ergonomic hazards, and machine-related accidents are also common.

With all those hazards they face, it’s no wonder oil and gas workers have among the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the US. Yet, despite that, many still choose such professions because they pay well.

Preventing Oil and Gas Workplace Hazards

Not all accidents in the oil and gas industry cause deaths, but they still cause injuries. The thing is, according to research, more than 99% of all accidents are preventable. That implies that most oilfield incidents don’t have to or shouldn’t occur.

Identifying hazards in the workplace, in turn, is one of the first steps to hazard prevention.

For that reason, many oil and gas companies use the Job Safety Analysis Process. Also called Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), it’s a tool aimed to orient new workers about the dangers of their job. In addition, it trains employees about the methods they can use to avoid such risks.

Employers can also have workers undergo oil and gas refinery safety training online. These web-based courses revolve around driver safety, confined spaces, and basic first aid. Others focus on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and machinery.

Speaking of PPE, employers must provide these to their workers, too. These include protective equipment for the eyes, face, head, ears, foot, hand, and body. In addition, those who directly work with chemicals must have access to HAZMAT suits.

Oilfield Accidents Are Preventable

As you can see, oilfield work and gas extraction are some of the most hazardous professions out there. However, just because they’re dangerous doesn’t mean workers have to get injured or die. With training and adherence to safety protocols, it’s possible to ensure no one gets hurt on the job.

Did you find this article informative? If so, then feel free to read our other blog posts on business, health, and lifestyle!

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