Beware of Winter Injuries in the Oil and Gas IndustryWhether you are working in the oil fields, out on an oil rig, or driving a truck to transport gas in the wintertime, an already tough job is made tougher by changes in the weather. In summer, heat exhaustion is a concern and remaining hydrated is essential. When winter sets in, workers face the same set of risks, but they become magnified by the cold weather. Some are more dangerous than others.

Sometimes safety protocols intended to guard against oil field accidents just can’t be created to protect workers from every conceivable catastrophic injury. Winter time can add to the safety challenges of working in the oil fields and gas industry. Knowing the risks doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to help when you get injured.

Cold stress

Exposure to extremely cold temperatures can cause heat to leave the body very quickly. Oil and gas industry workers whose jobs require them to work outdoors have a daily struggle to prevent this from happening. Temperatures can change drastically based on windchill and wind speed. Factors that exacerbate the likelihood of experiencing cold stress can be anything from clothing getting wet to having underlying health conditions.

Cold stress can cause:

  • Trench foot from feet remaining wet for an extended period of time.
  • Hypothermia, which occurs when your internal body temperature drops below 95 degrees causing your body’s stored energy to deplete, which usually begins with shivering and progresses to loss of coordination, confusion, slowed breathing and other symptoms.
  • Pneumonia, which is a lung infection that can result as a complication from hypothermia, causing your airways to become inflamed and fill with fluid.
  • Death can come from hypothermia or pneumonia that has gone too far before the worker was able to reach treatment in time to reverse the damage.

Frostbite

Also known as an ice burn, oil field workers typically experience this condition as a result of exposure to extremely cold temperatures or their skin being in direct contact with icy surfaces for extended periods of time. With all of the metal equipment used in oil fields and within the industry in cold climates, this is a serious occupational risk. Oil production doesn’t stop just because the weather turns blustery. Frigid temperatures can often impact the operation of equipment, including freezing of pipelines. When these situations need to be corrected, it can mean long hours of working out on the cold.

Symptoms of frostbite include:

  • Red, white, dark, or gray skin
  • Pain in the affected area
  • Blisters
  • Feeling of numbness
  • Tingling or itchiness
  • Hard or waxy skin

Truck crashes

Icy roads combined with heavy oil tankers can turn these commercial trucks into giant hockey pucks when they hit a patch of ice the wrong way. Even drivers who are skilled at maneuvering roadways in harsh winters can’t always avoid skidding out of control. Black ice turns invisible and entire roadways can become unavoidably slick.

Winter truck crashes happen by sliding off the road and down an embankment, hitting a solid object, or overturning, which can mean:

Burn injuries

When trucks carrying gas crash, tankers can explode. Anyone in the vicinity of the explosion can experience a severe burn injury requiring critical care and a lengthy stay in a burn unit. These injuries can take months or even years of painful recovery. An injury that’s severe enough can end your career or even result in a wrongful death claim depending upon the circumstances that led to driving in dangerous icy conditions.

You may also require treatment by:

  • Insertion of tubes to ease breathing and make feeding possible
  • Surgeries for skin grafts
  • Extensive physical therapy to regain your range of motion in damaged limbs
  • Reconstructive surgery once your burns have healed

When you get hurt working in a tough industry, you may need help getting the fair treatment you deserve to recover from your injuries. That’s where Tulsa oil field accident attorney, Jacob Biby, comes in. Biby Law Firm fights hard to protect you and your injury claim so that you can get back to work faster and get on with your life.

Schedule your free consultation in our Tulsa office today by calling a caring member of our legal team at 918.416.6351 or by reaching out to us through our contact form to briefly tell us your story. There is no cost to you unless we win.