The oil and gas industry has brought in many well-paying jobs. However, these jobs come with a huge risk: sometimes serious injury or death.
When you think about accidents in the oil and gas industry, you may think that most accidents occur on the oil rig itself. But actually, truck driving is the most dangerous job in the field. Truck accidents are becoming more and more common and often lead to fatality—usually by someone in a passenger vehicle.
The job of a truck driver is even considered to be more dangerous than a police officer or firefighter. Just imagine how dangerous a truck filled with oil or gas can be when it’s involved in an accident.
Approximately 650 oil field workers were killed on the job between 2003 and 2008. One-third of those—about 33 percent—were trucking related. This makes trucking the largest threat to workers in the oil and gas industry.
Why is Trucking so Dangerous?
A truck in the oil field is different from a truck on a freeway in that it weighs more than a thousand tons and is filled with explosive material or flammable liquid. An accident can lead to serious—even deadly—consequences.
Because of this, you would think that truck drivers in the oil and gas field would have stricter safety rules to follow. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, these truck drivers actually have exemptions from the hours of service laws put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
For regular truck drivers, waiting time counts toward hours of service. It doesn’t for an oil field trucker. With the daily maximum at 11 hours, a regular truck driver could work, for example, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., including wait time. If an oil field trucker had to wait three hours in between, he could be working until 9 p.m. That’s a long day, with the risk of fatigue increasing each hour.
The Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin areas are seeing high accident rates. Injuries and deaths have tripled in some areas. The Permian Basin in particular is seeing an average of one fatality per day. That’s because there is a huge sense of urgency to get things done. As a result, drivers who are tired or inexperienced are operating poorly maintained equipment on local roads that weren’t created for high-volume industrial traffic.
Contact an Oil Field Injury Lawyer Today
An accident on the oil field can be serious—even deadly. If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury in the oil and gas industry, it’s important to understand your legal rights so you know what forms of compensation you can expect to receive.
If you have been injured in an oil field accident, the injury lawyers at Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C. can help. Contact us today at (575) 222-1000 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about our services and your legal rights.