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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

How Do Oil Rig Accidents Happen? – Top Causes

Although working on an offshore oil rig offers many financial benefits, the truth is that it is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States and other countries.

Jobs in the oil and gas industry are risky. Oil rig workers face significant dangers both in domestic and foreign waters, including catastrophic accidents that can cause severe injuries. Therefore, employers are required to follow federal and state guidelines to ensure safety in the workplace.

Unfortunately, oil rig accidents are common. Some are caused by unpredictable failures or incidents, but many are the result of companies' negligence in meeting safety requirements. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can advise on what the most common oil rig injury is.

What can injured parties do if their employers fail to protect them, and they are harmed in an oil rig accident? Can workers file a claim to recover compensation? Here's everything victims should know about these cases.

Are Oil Rig Accidents Common in Texas?

Are Oil Rig Accidents Common in Texas?

According to the 2020 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas reported 24 fatal injuries related to the state's mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries. There were also a total of 1,400 nonfatal injuries within this category.

The accidents that often cause these injuries don't just happen in Texas. Oil and gas workers are subjected to this occupation's potential hazards, whether they work on local drilling projects or oil rig platforms in foreign waters.

Why Do Oil Rig Accidents Happen?

As mentioned, employers are legally required to ensure workplace conditions are excellent to protect their employees, avoid incidents, and reduce health risks. However, many companies do not take their obligations seriously and fail to follow safety rules.

Since oil drilling work is expensive, people working in this industry are often pressured to finish projects on time. Unfortunately, when there's overexertion, the risk of accidents, injuries, and even death increases.

Many employers put profits above their employees' health and welfare. When the workplace is not safe enough, many risky practices and hazardous conditions can cause oil rig accidents. These are the most common:

Oil Rig Explosion

An explosion can be the most catastrophic accident on an oil rig platform. Unfortunately, the risk is high.

Overall, massive oil rig explosions are often caused by fires or blowouts, which may result from human errors or natural events, such as a lightning strike.

A spark can hit flammable material and cause an explosion, for example. Since there's high-pressure oil and gas, the resulting fire can last for hours or even days.

Oil rig blowouts are also a common cause of explosions on these rigs. Companies use pressure control systems to keep gas and oil releases under control. However, this equipment can fail, especially if it is not used by a trained professional.

Since oil rigs are so far out at sea, workers have nowhere to escape when a fire or explosion occurs. Help is far away. Therefore, the risk of severe wounds is also high.

Hazardous Weather Conditions

Extreme weather also affects oil rigs. Hurricanes and other storms, strong winds, and rogue waves hit these platforms every year.

It is impossible to stop these natural calamities. If oil and gas workers do not use proper safety equipment, they are at high risk of catastrophic accidents.

Oil Rig Equipment Malfunction

Defective equipment is another major cause of accidents on oil rigs. Although companies often perform checks and inspections, some machines and parts are underwater and are difficult to monitor.

Human errors can also cause heavy machinery malfunctions, especially when a defect is not repaired properly or the work is left half-completed.

Transportation Incidents

Since oil rig workers spend some time traveling to and from these platforms, accidents involving vehicles can also occur.

These vehicles are constantly moving around a place where there's heavy machinery and people perform hazardous activities. Therefore, the risk of crashes is high.

Exposure to Harmful Substances

Toxic chemicals also pose significant risks to oil rig workers, especially if they are handled in confined spaces or sudden exposure occurs.

Oil and gas workers may be exposed to these toxic substances.

  • Benzene

  • Xylene

  • Silica

  • Asbestos

  • Nitrogen oxide

  • Hydrogen sulfide

  • Hydrocarbons

Failure to Use Safety Equipment

Companies must make sure their workplaces are safe enough for workers, but this does not just mean improving infrastructure.

Employers should provide adequate safety equipment and encourage workers to use it. Training and supervision are also important.

While many companies fail to use safety equipment, provide training, and supervise operations, they are required to do so. Therefore, this can be considered negligence and lead to catastrophic disasters.

Strikes with Objects and Equipment

Many accidents also result in contact injuries. These are some examples:

  • An employee caught between equipment, such as spinning chains

  • A person struck by a whipping pressurized line

  • A worker crushed by moving pipes

Overall, falling equipment, high-pressure lines, and moving vehicles are the most common causes of these accidents.


Companies must establish safe operating procedures when it comes to mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical energy control. Regular maintenance and inspection are also necessary. If they fail to do so, workers could suffer catastrophic accidents.

Warm wires, tripped circuit breakers, and blown fuses are common signs there are electrical hazards, for example.

Contact an Oil Rig Accident Attorney Today!

Contact an Oil Rig Accident Attorney Today!

A worker who has suffered an oil rig accident has the right to seek legal assistance to file a claim against at-fault parties and recover compensation for their injuries. They can help with questions like How many people died in oil rig explosions each year?

As mentioned, oil rig jobs are dangerous. Many accidents are caused by companies' negligence and lack of safety protocols and equipment. However, employees in the oil industry must consider the highest safety standards to ensure their workers are not at risk.

If a worker is injured while on the job, they are entitled to financial compensation for the harm they suffered, lost wages, and other damages. Negligent parties should be held accountable for this unfortunate outcome.

However, handling an oil rig accident case alone is challenging. Victims should get help from a seasoned oil rig accident lawyer.

An oil rig accident attorney can fight for injured workers' rights, investigate the company's practices and workplace conditions, and build a solid case to recover fair compensation.

Any Texas worker who has been injured in an oil rig accident can find the guidance they need at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. Contact us today!


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