Get in Touch
to set up an appointment with one of our accomplished attorneys.713.863.7100 EMAIL
In the south, the oil industry is something nearly everyone has a connection to. You might have a cousin who worked on a rig at one point or an uncle who works for one of the many major oil companies here in Houston. While the energy field provides hundreds of thousands of jobs for Texans, much of the work is incredibly dangerous. Even with jobsites that heavily promote proper safety practices, oilfield accidents can and do happen.
According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, from 2008 to 2017 1,566 workers died due to injuries sustained while working in the oil-and-gas drilling industry. For reference, that’s almost the exact number of troops killed in Afghanistan during the same period.
From 2008 to October of 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited companies in the extraction industry for over 10,000 violations. Over sixty percent of these violations were classified as “serious,” meaning the inspectors found hazards likely to result in “death or serious physical harm.” Another three percent were classified as “repeated,” meaning the company had been previously cited for the hazard, or even “willful,” indicating there was “purposeful disregard” for the law or indifference to employee safety.
In Texas specifically, oil and gas extraction firms employ 2,400 more people than they did a year ago; and, the real job growth has come in support activities. As of October, oil companies employed 170,600 derrick operators, rotary drill operators, and other workers — 50,000 more positions than at the start of the decade. This puts more workers in the path of bone-crushing machinery, explosive gases, and cancer-causing chemicals.
In August of 2017, 38-year-old Juan Vicente De La Rosa was working on a platform above a wellhead in Midland County, Texas, when a cable snapped, freeing heavy blocks that struck De La Rosa and killed him almost instantly.
De La Rosa worked for a well-servicing company called Big Lake Services LLC. The owner and operator of the subject well, Pioneer Natural Resources USA, a major player on the Texas side of the Permian, hired Big Lake to work on its oil platform. De La Rosa’s family has since filed a lawsuit against both companies, alleging the Pioneer site representative acknowledged to investigators that a severed cable was in need of repair.
OSHA cited Big Lake for a single violation and proposed a $12,805 fine, which the company is contesting. It did not cite Pioneer, however.
As the oil and gas industry continues to grow across the globe, thousands of Americans are able to fill a wide range of positions. The rich oilfields of Texas are among the most fruitful in the country, yielding up to a quarter of the nation’s oil production each year. Unfortunately, this consistent market and demand for workers also contributes to a relatively high number of injuries and fatalities on the job.
More than one party may be at fault for an oilfield accident, and determining liability can be challenging. Experienced Texas oilfield accident lawyers can be invaluable in helping you analyze the details of your case. Adame Garza LLP can review your unique situation and determine the liable parties involved in the incident, as well as how much compensation may be needed to cover all of the costs resulting from the accident. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.