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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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5 Common Causes of Oilfield Accidents in New Mexico

New Mexico is home to some of the largest and most lucrative oil-producing facilities in the world. As a result, many people in our state hold jobs in oilfields, work that is both rewarding and hazardous. Our Albuquerque workers’ compensation attorney shares five common causes of oilfield accidents in New Mexico.

Slip & Falls

Slipping and falling is a major cause of workplace accidents no matter what your job is. Oilfield work is no different.

In the oil industry, slip and falls can look like falling from an oil derrick or slipping on a slick work desk. If machinery or tools are left in areas with heavy foot traffic, someone could trip and hurt themselves that way. Considering how many moving parts are present in oilfields, such accidents are hardly a rarity.

The severity of slip and fall accidents varies greatly—for some, such an accident merely results in a bruised knee; for others, a slip and fall can lead to something permanent like brain damage or even death.

Falling Objects

Another major cause of injury and death in many fields of work is a falling object striking someone below. Employees of an oilfield may have to work on tall oil derricks, and if their tools aren’t secure, they could drop something that strikes another worker on the ground. Improperly loaded freight that topples over can also lead to injury. This is why it is important to always wear a hard hat and other protective gear while onsite.

Equipment Malfunctions

Heavy machinery is a major component of oilfield work. Large, specialized equipment such as cranes, pipes, drill pieces, and oil derricks are almost constantly in use. If one of these breaks down or malfunctions, an individual can be caught in or struck by heavy machinery. Such accidents almost always lead to permanent and catastrophic injuries, if not death.

Failing to Meet Safety Requirements

The hazards of oilfield work are well known throughout the industry, so there are already numerous safety regulations in place. However, it is up to supervisors and employees alike to actually follow them in order to increase their safety. Unfortunately, some companies care more about profits than their employees, so they cut corners. Employees themselves may be negligent as well by choosing to ignore safety rules. Such behavior tends to lead to an accident eventually.

Inadequate Training

Thorough employee training is vital to the operation of an oilfield. If employees aren’t properly trained, they are more likely to cause accidents. This can have disastrous consequences, such as resulting in one of the accident types mentioned above. Other common oilfield accidents include fires, explosions, and motor vehicle accidents. While some of these are caused by outside or unstoppable forces, many oilfield accidents simply result from human error. Many of these could be avoided with adequate employee training.