Work in the oil field presents potentially fatal hazards that are not as common in other industries. Because proximity to heavy machinery and equipment is a daily part of the job, there are many opportunities for these to strike workers, catch them between moving parts or pin them against something else.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 3 out of 5 oil field fatalities happen because of caught-in, struck-by or caught-between accidents.
How these accidents happen
All it takes is one mistake or lapse in attention for workers to find themselves caught-in, struck by or caught between something. Here are four common examples:
- Vehicles driving too quickly through an area where there are many workers
- Drivers backing up without having someone to check their blind spots
- Unstable oil derricks collapsing on workers
- Poorly balanced loads falling from cranes
How to prevent these accidents
OSHA provides safety measures specifically for oil fields that should improve working conditions. However, employers must adhere to them, and they must train workers in the proper safety protocols.
Minimizing the number of employees on the field can reduce accidents. Requiring workers to wear bright safety vests, hard hats and other personal protective gear can also prevent or lessen the impact of a collision or falling object. Securing loads and lines may prevent many things from falling.
Ultimately, backover accidents, falling objects and equipment malfunctions are avoidable. Oil field workers have the right to a safe job site and safety training that helps them to protect themselves and others.