Oil industry workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. However, it is important to remember that workers are not necessarily responsible for accidents that occur on offshore and onshore rigs. In our experience, employers or third parties are often responsible.
Workers are almost constantly exposed to flammable materials, including gases and liquids. Even a small spark or fire can lead to a catastrophic explosion. Common causes of oil rig explosions include:
Certain conditions in and around the rig, like the one that occurred on the Deepwater Horizon, can lead to blowouts and resulting explosions that cause multiple injuries or deaths.
Blowouts can occur when rig operators attempt to drill into highly pressured, underground oil fields. Modern technology can prevent a blowout from occurring by detecting warning signs. If the equipment or teams operating the rig are careless, then warning signs could be ignored and supervisors may pressure workers to continue drilling.
Equipment malfunctions are another possible cause of explosions. Malfunctions may be caused by defective equipment or employer negligence. In the latter case, fires may occur if machinery is pushed beyond its limits or used incorrectly.
Electrical events are another possible cause of oil rig fires. Offshore rigs must be able to provide modern comforts, which means these massive structures must also generate a lot of power to sustain basic living standards. Workers may stay on offshore rigs for weeks at a time. Electricity can escape and spark nearby flammable materials, which could lead to an explosion.
Job duties on the rig, such as welding, can also lead to a fire when done incorrectly or in the wrong place. Welding can be especially dangerous under the right circumstances. Sparks that come into contact with flammable materials could result in an oil rig explosion.
The improper use of certain tools can lead to an explosion caused by a fire. Tools used for rig work have very specific purposes and must only ever be used for those purposes. Improperly using certain tools can lead to sparks, electrical events and explosions.
Large oil rigs employ cooks because workers often stay aboard for many weeks at a time. Cooking equipment or liquids can lead to a fire. Cooks must work around grease, oils, ovens and other electrical-powered cooking equipment with extreme care.
Severe weather can lead to an explosion. It is important for rig operators to evacuate workers in extreme cases, such as a major storm or hurricane. However, strong winds and lightning also pose a risk to workers. Lightning strikes can very easily trigger an explosion under the right conditions.
The Houston oil rig accident lawyers at Stevenson & Murray can help workers and families affected by oil rig explosions. Our law firm has extensive experience with oilfield and oil rig accident cases. You can learn more about our experience by visiting our website.
If you want to speak with an attorney about legal options for an oil rig explosion or other type of accident, then we encourage you to contact us. We offer free consultations. Reach us by dialing (866) 806-8538 or by using the online contact form on our site.
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