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Personal Injury


January 17, 2023


Offshore Oil Rig Accidents: Types, Causes, and How to Claim?

Oil rig jobs are dangerous, and accidents on offshore oil rigs often cause serious, life-altering injuries. If you have been injured in an offshore accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries, including medical care costs, lost earnings, pain, and suffering. An oil rig injury attorney at Brooks & Radchenko can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.

Common Oil Rig Accidents in Texas

oil rig injuries

How dangerous is working on an oil rig? Common types of Texas oil rig accidents include:

  • Chemical leaks
  • Drilling blowouts
  • Electrocutions
  • Equipment malfunction
  • Explosions and fires
  • Falls to a lower level
  • Falling debris
  • Gas leaks
  • High-pressure malfunctions
  • Hydraulic or pneumatic metal tongs
  • Ladder accidents
  • Line snapbacks or breaks
  • Toxic chemical exposure (asbestos, silica, benzene, sulfur dioxide, xylene)
  • Wet/slippery floors

Oil rig workers are also vulnerable to motor vehicle accidents and helicopter accidents that occur during commutes to drill sites.

Potential Oil Rig Injuries

Workers and contractors on offshore oil rigs are vulnerable to just about any type of serious and potentially permanent injury, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bone injuries
  • Amputation injuries
  • Blunt force trauma injuries
  • Chemical exposure injuries
  • Spinal cord/paralysis injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Smoke inhalation injuries
  • Neck and back injuries

An accident claim following offshore injuries can compensate victims for their losses. Unfortunately, not all injuries are survivable. In such cases of fatal accidents, surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim for final medical care, funeral and burial costs, lost financial contributions the decedent would have made to their household, and loss of love, care, and companionship.

What Should I Do After an Oil Rig Accident in West Texas?

oil rig accidents

There are a few steps you need to take following an accident to preserve evidence, document your injuries, and let concerned parties know that you may be pursuing a claim for an accident:

Notify Your Employer

You must notify your employer promptly following any accident on an oil rig. Not reporting the accident in a timely manner can be problematic for your injury claim as well as for your employment status. Employers must report accidents within eight days to the Division of Workers’ Compensation in Texas.

Seek Medical Attention

Do not delay seeking medical attention after an accident - getting medical treatment is essential both for your own health and well-being as well as for your future injury claim. Your emergency room visit will establish the connection between the accident and your injuries. If your emergency physician recommends follow-up care, be sure to follow their instructions promptly.

Contact a Texas Oil Rig Injury Attorney

It is never too soon to contact a lawyer following an accident, as an attorney can provide you and your family with guidance, advice, and support in the aftermath of your work injury.

What Conditions Do I Need to Prove to File a Claim for Oilfield Accident?

If your claim is based on unlawful practices or unsafe conditions, you will need to establish what standards or regulations were violated, such as:

  • Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals – 29 CFR 1910.119
  • Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) - 29 CFR 1910.147
  • ​​Respiratory Protection - 29 CFR 1910.134
  • Wiring Methods, Components, and Equipment for General Use - 29 CFR 1910.305
  • Ladder Safety – 29 CFR 1910.23
  • Duty to Have Fall Protection and Falling Object Protection – 29 CFR 1910.28

Do not worry if you are not sure exactly what caused your accident - accident victims are not required to be occupational safety experts. Your personal injury lawyer can investigate your accident and help you hold your employer or other responsible parties accountable.

Causes Contributing to Oil Field Accidents

oil rig worker dangers

Thousands of Texas are employed in the oil industry, and unfortunately, many people are injured at work each year. According to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), recognizing and controlling hazards at oil and gas drilling and servicing sites is critical to preventing injuries and deaths. At Brooks & Radchenko, we know that the work the oil field and oil rig workers do is important but also very dangerous. When injuries occur, compensation may be available through the state workers’ compensation system as well as through personal injury claims. We hold employers, rig owners, equipment manufacturers, and other third parties accountable.

What are the dangers of working on an oil rig? Oil field workers and contractors must be trained in hazard recognition and understand the many ways that an accident can occur. Below are some common oil rig worker dangers:

Defective or Faulty Equipment

Machinery and equipment at oil drilling sites are powerful and complex. When maintenance is deferred or not done correctly, the equipment can malfunction and cause serious injuries. Oil companies and contractors must maintain equipment per the manufacturer’s operation manual or other standards.

Explosions & Fires

Oil fields and offshore oil rigs have flammable vapors, gasses, and liquids that come from wells, trucks, tanks, and shale shakers, with plenty of ignition sources like welding tools, frictional heat, electrical energy sources, lighting, open flames, and cigarettes. It just takes a tiny spark to ignite a fire or explosion which can cause exterior and interior burns, or organ damage from smoke inhalation. Oil rig injuries from explosions and fires can cause permanent disfigurement or disability which may require long-term care.

Poor Training

If equipment is not operated properly, oil field workers and contractors may be exposed to hazardous energy (electrical, mechanical, hydraulic). Oil and gas workers are also not immune from ergonomics-related injury risks from lifting heavy items, reaching overhead, pulling and pushing heavy loads, doing repetitive tasks, and working in awkward body postures. Pre-task planning and training can reduce accidents and injuries.

Oil & Gas Truck Accidents

According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the 1st or 2nd leading cause of death in every major working industry group. Oil workers often make long vehicle commutes to drill sites. Like other motorists on the road, they are at risk of facing serious injuries in vehicle collisions caused by distracted drivers, fatigue, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and speeding.

Falling Equipment

Falling equipment on an oil right can cause severe injuries or fatalities. Helmets (must comply with ANSI Type 1 to meet OSHA standards) are a critical piece of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect workers from falling parts of machinery, collapsing decks, and top-of-head blows.

How to Boost Safety on an Oil Rig in Texas

oilfield accident

A safe work environment starts with the culture - that is, the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, values, and safety. Many things can be done to ensure safety on an offshore oil rig:

  • Protect machines and equipment from sun, salt, and humidity, per manufacturer recommendations
  • Provide and require all workers to wear PPE, based on recent technology innovations to provide maximum protection
  • Use non-slip coating on metal surfaces and other traction solutions to keep work surfaces slip-proof even in harsh conditions and extreme conditions.
  • Use adequate, reliable, marine-grade lighting, like LED explosion-proof lights
  • Have an emergency response plan and practice it regularly

Because even a minor mechanical failure or hazard can cause a devastating injury, be sure to analyze risk and safety strategies periodically.


At Brooks & Radchenko, we are committed to leveling the playing field for our clients. When injuries are serious, accountability needs to be serious and our clients and their families need to be fairly compensated. Our clients are not file numbers or case names - they are real people we tirelessly fight for.

If you would like to see how our Texas personal injury lawyers can help you after an oil rig accident, contact us for a free consultation.

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