The oil and gas industry provides high-paying positions, and oftentimes a job may come with workplace hazards. Companies, however, owe a duty of care to train employees to recognize threats to their safety and to avoid danger.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires three category-specific signs that the oil and gas industry must use to communicate danger. As illustrated by EHS Today, visible signs must warn employees by labeling equipment and work areas with signs of “Caution,” “Danger” and “Safety Instructions.”
Failing to post signs that communicate the risk of danger
Before sending new hires to work on-site, an employer must train them to understand OSHA’s color-coded warning signs. Employees may find yellow caution signs warning them of a wet floor or flammable liquids. Green signs provide safety instructions; an employer must post them where employees can go to receive immediate first aid or medical care.
Red signs posted near dangerous areas, for example, warn workers to stay away because of hazards, such as a risk of electrical shock or poisonous gases. If an accident occurs because a supervisor failed to post the necessary signs, an injured employee may file a legal action seeking damages.
Filing a wrongful death action in response to a fatal workplace accident
Trained employees may use care and caution to avoid injuries, but they may not have control over equipment malfunction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vehicle incidents caused the highest fatalities involving oil and gas extraction workers in 2017.
Because of the known risks of dangerous work conditions, oil and gas employers owe a duty of care to maintain safe work areas and equipment. When a fatality occurs, surviving family members may file a legal action against a company to obtain relief and damages.