Motor Vehicle Accidents Are A Bigger Threat To Oil Field Workers

According to new research, oil and gas workers are at a significantly higher risk of dying in a traffic accident than employees in other industries. This study indicated that oil and gas employees are 8.5 times more likely to be in a fatal motor vehicle accident.

This research is particularly problematic for Texas because of the size of the oil and gas industry in the state. More than 33% of all fatal oil field truck accidentshappened in Texas between 2003 and 2009. Of course, that means that the study closed before the beginning of the shale oil boom; Texas could have an even higher percentage now but North Dakota has also seen an enormous surge in drilling activity. 

Some of the study's more specific findings were that failure to use a seat belt and a lack of commercial drivers licenses played a role in a number of crashes. Many oil field workers use pickup trucks - the state does not require a commercial driver's license for these employees. This means that many workers might lack helpful safety training that other professional drivers receive.

Oil field accidents present some tricky issues. While many on-the-job injuries are covered by workers' compensation laws, the situation becomes murky when a number of separate companies work together in the same area. Workers' compensation rules could cover the basic costs of an injury - but if another company's negligence caused the accident, the employee might still be able to seek further damages from that defendant.

An experienced car accident and personal injury lawyer can help these employees explore their options.

Source: FuelFix, "Oilfield workers at higher risk of fatal motor vehicle accidents," Jeannie Kever, Jan. 18, 2013

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