Common Oilfield Injuries

Oilfield workers operate powerful machinery, climb to great heights to access different parts of the oil rig, and are sometimes forced to work in confined spaces with only one way in or out. That’s not even mentioning all the traffic created by transporting materials to and from work locations.

In other words, a lot could go wrong, and if safety precautions aren’t taken, workers could have lasting injuries that alter the course of their life. Contact an oilfield injury lawyer at Kemmy Law Firm by calling (432) 400-0000 to schedule a free consultation. There are no upfront or hourly fees, and we only get paid when we win compensation.

Oilfield Injuries Overview

Oilfield injuries typically have four root causes, commonly known as the “fatal four.” These include falls, struck-by accidents, caught-in or between accidents, and electrocutions. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, struck-by accidents and caught in / between accidents are responsible for three out of every five fatalities in the oil and gas industry.

It’s also common to suffer from several injuries simultaneously. You might have been crushed by heavy equipment, resulting in a head injury and a broken limb. The individual circumstances of your accident could significantly impact the severity of your injuries, the resulting damages, and the length of recovery.

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Burn Injuries

Oil, natural gasses, and other flammable substances extracted during the drilling process all increase the risk for fires and explosions. Sometimes, oilwell blowouts (an uncontrolled release of crude oil) occur and cause large amounts of crude oil to spill out onto the worksite. If not contained quickly, the oil could ignite and cause a catastrophic explosion.

Burn injuries also result from electrocutions. Improperly maintained or designed equipment could expose workers to an energy hazard, resulting in severe burns that permanently maim or kill workers.

Properly maintaining and operating equipment and containing fires before they get out of control could help prevent burn injuries.


Along with the precious oil that workers take great risks to extract, toxic gasses are also released during the drilling process. When exposed to atmospheric conditions, these toxins could be fatal to anyone in the surrounding area if inhaled for long periods.

One of these gasses is hydrogen sulfide—a colorless gas that reeks of rotten eggs. Workers exposed to hydrogen sulfide might experience eye irritation, headaches, weakness, and other symptoms.

Employees working in mud pits, storage tanks, reserve pits, and other confined areas are at an increased risk of long-term exposure to hydrogen sulfide. Workers might be required to have a permit before entering these confined spaces.

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Head Injuries

Oilfield workers must be aware of their surroundings at all times. They might have machinery operating above them while they’re handling powerful (and loud) equipment.

If they don’t pay attention and loud tools muffle a co-worker’s warnings, they could suffer a blow to the head, potentially knocking them unconscious or killing them instantly.

Slip and falls, caught-in / between accidents, and other accidents all have the potential to cause head injuries. Survivors of these accidents might suffer from a traumatic brain injury or permanent brain damage. Even a minor concussion could require extensive recovery.

That’s why all employers should provide their workers with the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to stay safe on the job. They could be found negligent in a civil claim if they don’t.


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If you’re looking for a law firm, where you’re not just another client. I can say from personal experience, you have found the right place at The Kemmy Law Firm. Everyone there always treated us amazingly. Not at any time were we in the dark, not knowing what was going on. Either Tom, Nick or Melissa would give us updates often on the case and explain to us the next steps. Which this made us feel like we were the only case they had. They fought for us as if they were fighting for their own family. They were compassionate about making sure we were going to be all right during the case as well as the years after the case. We are so thankful we found the Kemmy Law Firm and you will be too. Thank you Tom, Nick, and Melissa and everyone at The Kemmy Law Firm.

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Broken Bones

Broken bones could result from all kinds of on-the-job accidents in the oil industry. Workers might have to climb to great heights to access certain areas of the oil rig. A fall from the platform they’re working on could lead to several bone breaks and other severe injuries.

Most of the time, workers don’t have to fall too far to break any bones. They might have only dropped a few feet but landed awkwardly on the equipment below them, causing fractured or broken limbs.

While failing to adhere to OSHA safety standards could cause a worker to fall from an oil rig, it might also cause the oil rig to fall on them in an oil rig collapse. Or, workers could be struck-by or caught-in or between heavy equipment that crushes their bodies.

Fall protection and safe operation of oilfield machinery and equipment could help prevent workers from these injuries. 

Neck & Back Injuries

Oil and gas extraction workers often experience back and neck injuries to some degree, due to how labor-intensive their job inherently is. However, that’s not to say that negligence can’t factor into these types of injuries. As with other injuries stated so far, being struck-by heavy machinery or caught-in or between equipment could undoubtedly produce significant back and neck injuries.

Incorrectly carrying or lifting heavy equipment or tripping in a cluttered work zone could also injure the back and neck muscles. Injuries could potentially cause workers to take time off to recover.

Employers must ensure that all workers are trained to pick up and carry heavy equipment correctly. Additionally, the work zone should be clear and safe to avoid any slip and fall injuries.

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Permanent Brain Injury

The Kemmy Firm secured an $8.6 million settlement on behalf of a woman who suffered a permanent brain injury after three years of hard-fought litigation.

Permanent Spinal Cord Injury

The Kemmy Law Firm, P.C. obtained the second largest medical negligence verdict in Texas for 2017 ($13.5 million).

Total Destruction of West Texas Business

The Kemmy team secured a confidential settlement for a group of Well Owners who were forced to shut down their oil related business with a $20 Million market value.

Permanent Spine Injury for Iowa Insurance Agent

We recovered $3 Million for a family whose breadwinner and patriarch suffered a severe spinal cord injury.


Sprains & Strains

While it’s easy to assume that explosions and falls contribute to most oilfield injuries, ergonomic hazards could also put workers at risk. Working in awkward positions may result in sprains or strains. Although these positions might not cause significant harm instantly, working this way day in and day out could put repetitive stress on one area, resulting in an injury to muscles or ligaments.

Ergonomics helps fit the job to the person and enables workers to perform effectively. This reduces the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.


Recover from Your Work Injury with Kemmy Law Firm

Just because you’re at a higher risk of injury while working on an oilfield doesn’t mean that negligent parties get off the hook for causing an accident. Whether your injury was listed above or not, you still have the right to pursue compensation, and the Kemmy Law Firm can help you recover what you lost.

Our attorneys will investigate your case to determine fault and fight to hold all at-fault parties accountable for their actions. Contact Kemmy Law Firm today at (432) 400-0000 to schedule a free consultation.

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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.