The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an energy industry high of 142 fatalities in 2012. This increase can be attributed to the economic boom that has been brought about by oil and gas extraction. Hydraulic fracking is a common process used in Texas where millions of gallons of water and sand are pushed underground in order to break the rock and release gas.
Because of the energy industry boom, companies are employing contract workers at a much higher rate. Oftentimes, in order to fill quotas, these workers are inexperienced, undertrained, and not aware of proper safety precautions. Hydraulic fracking requires the use of extremely heavy machinery, often involves heights, and can lead to the exposure of dangerous levels of hydrocarbons. These dangers, coupled with a growth of inexperienced workers, have led to a staggering increase in workplace injuries.
Energy industry accidents are not only attributed to onsite injuries, but also vehicle related accidents. A high majority of hydraulic fracking workplace fatalities are caused while operators are driving water and salt trucks to and from the wells, as part of the driller operations. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported that truck operators in the oil and gas industry are killed in accidents at a rate nearly 8 times the national average. Oftentimes, these drivers are inexperienced in this type of drilling operation, which can lead to fatal accidents. In order to meet industry demands, truck operators are also driving 12-13 hour shifts without breaks, leading to more accidents.
Anyone employed in the fracking industry should be aware and understand the risks and safety concerns associated with their job. If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of a workplace injury please contact the attorneys at Fomby & Zarghouni LLC, by calling toll free at (844) FOZALAW.