| Read Time: 6 minutes | Accident Reports

Oil field accidents pose a serious threat to the oil and gas industry workers. When an oil field worker is injured, the aftermath can devastate the worker and their family.

Unfortunately, oil field accidents are relatively common in the United States, especially in southwestern states like New Mexico. Oil field operations can be physically and mentally demanding. Plus, the industry often requires its workers to navigate highly hazardous situations. 

Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C. Our firm’s experienced oil field injury attorneys can help oil field accident victims. Our firm has experienced oil field injury attorneys that can help oil field accident victims get the justice and compensation that they deserve.

We understand the toll an injury takes on oil field workers and their families. We aren’t afraid to fight for you against insurance companies or large corporations. Plus, we don’t hesitate to take a case to court if necessary.

We discuss below some oil field accident statistics to fully inform you about oil field accidents and the industry’s current climate before you proceed with your legal claim. 

Oil Rig Accident Statistics 

Recently, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers released its safety report for 2021. Unfortunately, the amount of oil and gas accidents has been increasing.

Deaths on oil rigs rose by 10% in 2021, a staggering increase from 2020. According to the safety report, slip-and-fall accidents caused 20% or 114 out of the 580 rig injuries in 2021. Many of these accidents were preventable. 

Oil Rig Explosions In Texas

Oil rig explosions are one of the most dangerous types of incidents in the oil and gas industry. They can occur due to many reasons, including: 

  • Fires, 
  • Pipeline blowouts, 
  • Equipment malfunctions,
  • Defective machinery, 
  • Inadequate maintenance, and 
  • Unsafe drilling procedures. 

As you can see from the list of causes, many of these explosions could have been prevented.

Texas has a long history as a top oil producer and has large quantities of oil deposits. Many of these oil deposits are in the Permian Basin, which spans about 300 miles long.

Located in West Texas, the Permian Basin is home to about 7,000 oil fields, and its oil accounts for about 40% of all oil production in the United States. 

Due to the large quantities of oil in the Permian Basin, many companies have set up oil rigs in the Basin to extract the oil. And where there are oil rigs, there are usually oil rig explosions. For example, in 2015, a deadly oil rig explosion killed three oil well workers in West Texas.

The company that managed the well neglected to implement safety procedures that could have prevented the deaths. As a result, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the company $50,000.

More recently, in 2022, there was another oil rig explosion in Texas. A hydraulic line ruptured, causing two deaths and another three people with serious injuries in San Augustine. 

As you can see, oil rig explosions are extremely dangerous. In addition to causing deaths, they can also cause serious injuries, including: 

  • Severe burns, 
  • Traumatic brain injuries, 
  • Injuries from blunt force trauma, 
  • Spinal cord injuries, and 
  • Broken and fractured bones. 

If you or someone you know was injured in an oil rig explosion, you should seek the advice of an attorney with experience handling oil rig accidents as soon as possible. 

Oil Rig Accidents in 2022

Unfortunately, 2022 saw quite a few oil and gas industry accidents. Below are some of the worst accidents of the year. 

Four Dead After an Oil Rig Helicopter Crash 

In December 2022, a helicopter crashed as it was departing from an off-shore oil rig platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was carrying three oil rig crew members and a pilot. All members aboard died because of the crash. 

Oil Rig Tank Crushed a 27-Year-Old Crew Member 

In October 2022, an Oklahoma oil rig tank weighing over 10,000 pounds fell on top of a 27-year-old crew member, crushing him to death. OSHA commented that although the rate of oil rig accidents has been increasing each year, this type of accident rarely occurs. 

West Texas Oil Rig Accident Kills Worker 

In September 2022, an oil rig accident led to the death of a West Texas oil rig worker. The rig was operated by Exxon Mobil, who temporarily halted drilling after the worker’s death. This was the second death on an Exxon Mobil rig in 2022, calling into question Exxon’s oil rig safety procedures. 

Deadly Oil Rig Accident Causes Death in New Mexico

Just outside of Malaga, New Mexico, in November 2022, another oil rig accident caused the death of one worker and serious injuries to another.

While the specific cause of death was still unknown at the time of the article, reporters stated that the injuries and death had been definitively linked to an industrial accident on the oil rig where the two worked. 

Oil Field Injuries

Oil fields are well known for being hazardous working environments. Accidents in oil fields can lead to severe injuries or even death. Some of the most common causes of oil field accidents are listed below. 

Slip-and-Fall Accidents 

Slip-and-fall accidents cause a significant number of injuries to workers in the oil industry. Slippery surfaces, improper safety equipment, and negligent machinery maintenance can all lead to slips and falls.

In addition, oil rig crew members often work in adverse weather conditions, which can increase the chance of a slip-and-fall accident. 

Equipment Malfunctions 

When oil rig equipment malfunctions, the results can be catastrophic. For example, when the meter that measures the amount of pressure in the rig is not working correctly, the rig can explode.

Companies are in charge of checking, maintaining, and ensuring the safety of equipment that crew members use. So, when a company is negligent in keeping the equipment up to par, worker injuries are bound to occur. 

Falling Objects 

Falling objects have consistently caused injuries to oil rig workers. Oil rigs are intricate structures. When even one screw is loose, or equipment starts to rust, the crew will be in danger of falling objects. 

Chemical Exposure 

There are lots of different and potentially dangerous chemicals that are used in the oil extraction process. Workers exposed to these chemicals can suffer from breathing difficulty, skin irritation, and chemical burns.

Further, if a worker is exposed to a dangerous chemical for an extended period of time, they can also develop cancer. 


Oil fields and oil rigs are filled with flammable materials. As a result, fires occur often and can be extremely dangerous. Fires and their resulting damages can happen due to the following:

  •  Improper safety protocols, 
  • Equipment malfunction, or 
  • Improper storage of flammable materials. 

Oil is highly flammable. Only a small spark can ignite the oil. This means that fires are incredibly hazardous in an oil field.

Why Would Someone Need an Oil Field Accident Lawyer? 

If you were injured in an oil field accident, hire a lawyer with experience in oil field accidents, as oil field accidents often lead to complex legal cases. Oil field accident cases can involve some of the country’s largest corporations and their attorneys.

You don’t want to face these powerful parties without a strong, experienced, and forceful advocate. 

An experienced oil field accident lawyer can help you: 

  • Navigate the legal process of filing a lawsuit, 
  • Maximize your potential recovery, 
  • Negotiate with opposing parties, and 
  • Understand the relevant law. 

In addition to the above, an oil field accident attorney will be your advocate, and they will fight to protect your legal rights every step of the way. 

Average Oil Field Accident Settlement 

Because every accident is unique and every injury is different, there is no sound way to determine the average oil field accident settlement. However, some general factors can help determine the value of each case and a potential settlement amount. These factors include: 

  • Who was at fault in the accident; 
  • How severe the injuries were;
  • The amount of time it took to recover;
  • The amount of time the injured party had to take off work; 
  • The permanency of the injuries; and 
  • The presence of any emotional or mental trauma. 

Each of these factors can be significantly different in each case. You should speak with an experienced oil field attorney to help you understand the potential value of your case.

Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C. Helps Those Injured in Oil Field Accidents

More often than not, an oil business’s insurance company will try to settle a claim outside of court for less than what the claim is worth. However, at Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., our oil field accident attorneys understand what it takes to stand up to the big oil and big insurance companies.

So, if you have been injured in an oil rig accident, we want you to know that we are here to fight for your legal rights and get you the compensation you deserve.

In addition, if you are worried about the financial costs of hiring an attorney with us, you do not have to worry. We work on a contingent basis to remain accessible to accident victims.

This means that we only get paid after we help you recover compensation. Further, we offer free consultations and case evaluations for our potential clients. 

There are important legal deadlines to meet in every oil rig accident case, so don’t delay!  Contact us today. You can contact us online or by phone at 855-943-0230.

Author Photo

Daisy Chaparro

Daisy Chaparro was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. A graduate from El Dorado High School in 2008 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy from St. Mary’s University in 2012. Daisy then obtained her Juris Doctorate (magna cum laude) from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2015.

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