Oil Industry

Who is Responsible for an Equipment Failure on the Job at an Oilfield?

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

With so much heavy, complex equipment on site, oilfield jobs are notoriously dangerous. Millions of workers are seriously injured every year, with some even suffering fatal injuries. Figuring out who is responsible for those damages helps victims and their families recover compensation for their losses.

What Causes Equipment Failure?

There are many different types of equipment used in oilfield jobs, and workers must be specially trained and understand how that equipment operates safely. Unfortunately, accidents do occur, and equipment failure is a primary cause.

Some common reasons for equipment failure at oilfield sites include:

  • Inadequate maintenance of equipment
  • Improper training of employees
  • Corrosion or deterioration of equipment
  • Overloading or overstress on equipment
  • Lack of proper safety gear
  • Design, manufacturing, and warning defects

What Injuries Could You Suffer from After an Equipment Failure?

Oil rig and oilfield injuries are often catastrophic because they involve heavy equipment and exposure to dangerous chemicals. They can even lead to permanent or fatal injuries.
Some common injuries caused by oilfield accidents include:

Fatal accidents may amount to a wrongful death when negligence or reckless behavior is involved.

Who’s at Fault for an Equipment Failure?

You must determine who is at fault for the equipment failure that caused your injuries. Doing so can allow you to collect the maximum amount of compensation possible in your case. While coworker or employer liability may get you workers’ compensation, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit as well.

Negligent Employees

Human error is the most common cause of all workplace accidents, including equipment failure. When employees are negligent, their errors can result in injuries to coworkers or others on the oilfield job site.

Some ways that employees may be negligent and cause equipment failure include:

  • Improper use of equipment
  • Failure to maintain the quality of the equipment
  • Lack of proper training

In most cases, if a coworker is responsible for your injuries, you can make a workers’ compensation claim. However, if a coworker caused equipment failure on purpose or as a joke during horseplay, then workers’ comp may not cover your damages. In that case, you need to hold the responsible party accountable through a personal injury lawsuit.


Employers may also be at fault for equipment failure on the job at an oilfield. For example, if they fail to provide proper training or necessary safety equipment, they may be responsible for injuries sustained by an oilfield accident victim.

Employers are ultimately responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees. They must conduct routine inspections of equipment and provide training and safety equipment to employees. If they don’t, they can be liable through workers’ compensation. They may also have to pay additional fines for purposefully violating safety guidelines.

Equipment Manufacturers

In some situations, equipment manufacturers are primarily responsible for equipment failure. If the equipment was defective despite how it was used, then the manufacturer should be held accountable. There are three primary theories of defective products:

  • Defective Design – This is a defect in the way the product was developed or designed.
  • Defective Manufacturing – This is a problem with the way a product is made or produced, which may include dangerous or ineffective materials.
  • Defective Warning – This occurs when a seller or manufacturer does not provide proper hazard warnings or instructions on how to operate equipment.

If any of these were the cause of your injuries, the manufacturer or another company along the supply chain may be held responsible.

An Oilfield Accident Attorney Can Help You

If you or a loved one was injured by equipment failure at an oil rig or oilfield site, you deserve to get compensation for your damages. It can be difficult to determine who is responsible and make sure they are held liable. Kemmy Law Firm can handle this process for you. Call us today at 210-750-1019 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation with an oilfield injury lawyer.

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When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.