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.