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How Many Oil Rig Accidents Happen Each Year?

As the current inquiry demonstrates, getting accurate oil and gas rig accident statistics is not always straightforward. In 2019, according to the BSEE, offshore oil rigs resulted in six deaths and 222 injuries. Such figures are the most since 2010 when there were 12 fatalities and 220 injuries in just one year.

However, these statistics do not tell the whole story. According to an article in The Southerly Magazine, “in 2019, there were three additional deaths among offshore workers that weren’t recorded by BSEE, including two in a helicopter crash attempting to reach a platform and one determined by law enforcement to be non-work-related.”

For example, according to Southerly Magazine, “six men died and seven went missing when a lifeboat capsized on its way to an oil and gas lease in the Gulf” in April 2021. These fatalities will not be included in the BSEE’s count of offshore oil rig deaths for 2021, which was confirmed by Southerly Magazine.

If your loved one has died from an oil rig accident, contact Texas Oil Rig Injury Lawyers immediately to get a free case evaluation from an experienced oil rig accident lawyer.

Oilfield Accident Statistics

Between 2003 and 2013, approximately 1,189 oil and gas extraction workers died in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This resulted in around 108 deaths each year on average, which the CDC classified as a fatality rate of 25 people per 100,000 employees.

Furthermore, the CDC found that oil and gas extraction workers’ work-related deaths increased by 27.6% between 2003 and 2013.

According to the CDC, nearly 26% of all oil rig fatalities throughout the 11-year period were caused by contact with oil rig items or equipment. Over 50% of employee deaths during this time were in the oil well service sector.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 4,000 oil field employees are wounded each year, and more than 100 workers are killed every year on the job.

Between 2007 and 2012, 663 personnel were killed on oil field projects in the United States, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Houston Chronicle investigated this information and discovered that Texas alone accounted for around 40% of these fatalities.

Every Year In Texas, Approximately 45 Oil Rig Employees Suffer Fatal Workplace Injuries


In 2012, 675 Texans were injured, 92 people were burned, 82 workers were crushed, and 79 individuals lost their limbs.

What Causes Oil Rig Accidents In Texas?


Understanding why accidents happen can help you avoid future calamities. Furthermore, comprehending why a specific accident occurred is critical to determining who is at blame for it.

How can you identify the cause of an oil rig accident? Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent causes of oil rig accidents in Texas.

Explosions are a frequent occurrence on oil rigs, where employees must work with heavy equipment and highly combustible materials in harsh, variable conditions.

Although the causes of an explosion or fire are nearly infinite, some typical risks include:

  • Improperly grounded electrical equipment or wiring
  • Defective batteries
  • Defective ventilation systems (which cause a back-up of hazardous fumes)
  • Improperly stored fuel or other combustible substances
  • Poorly maintained hoses, pipes, or pipelines that leak or spray fuel
  • Improper use of welding devices or torches near combustible substances
  • Corrosion of electrical equipment
  • Failure to follow proper procedures for maintaining or cleaning equipment
  • Human error

Explosions and fires on oil rigs are especially frightening since local fire departments are unfamiliar with how to combat them.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, local fire-response organizations, many of which are made up of volunteers who have received primarily structured firefighting training, aren’t aware of the oil industry’s activities and procedures and in a single incident, there may be no water supply and often no effective fire department to fight massive quantities of flammable material congregating in a small geographic area.

  • Defective products

Oil rig injuries may be caused by defective products. Simply stated, workers may operate with heavy machinery or equipment that isn’t operating properly, putting them at risk.

  • Inadequate Training

As the oil and gas sector grows, more unskilled workers are employed.

Unfortunately, unskilled employees may be a hazard to others on the rig. In 2006 and 2007, the sector boomed, and deaths rose dramatically. However, during the great economic recession of 2009, when the oil business was forced to lay off fewer-experienced workers, the death rate dropped by nearly half.

  • Improper Oversight

OSHA has undoubtedly failed to implement adequate safety standards and methods, according to a recent study. OSHA hasn’t conducted nearly enough inspections, according to a recent report. Furthermore, oil and gas firms are frequently receiving safety infractions even when these inspections are carried out.

The lack of adequate oversight is perhaps not surprising, since OSHA only has 95 inspectors to oversee safety regulations and investigate accidents on all Texas job locations. In addition, oil drilling and well service businesses have lobbied against any changes in oil operations.

Common Oil Rig Injuries


Workers in the oil business are usually required to use hard hats and steel-toed boots, but even with these precautions, accidents will happen. The following are some of the most common oil rig accident injuries:

  • Bone fractures or breaks from being struck by objects
  • Chemical or third-degree burns from well blowouts, fires, and explosions
  • Head or brain injuries from falling pipes, cables, casings, and other equipment
  • Paralysis due to falls from derricks, ladders, platforms, slick stairways, and other unguarded heights
  • Limb loss as a result of being crushed by heavy cargo or machinery


  • Facing facts

The length of time an injured employee is unable to work is frequently used to assess the gravity of the accident. According to the BLS, the median period that a worker was off work after an oil drilling incident was 30 days. This is considerably longer than the national median of 7 days.

Keeping track of your medical records and day-to-day aches is one of the most essential things you can do to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for an oil rig accident.

Preventing Oil Rig Accidents


Fortunately, there are several things that can be done to prevent oil rig accidents and injuries. Businesses should make sure the following safety precautions are taken:

  • Safety equipment, including eye masks, helmets, boots, and gloves
  • Self-contained respiratory tools to guard against chemical exposure
  • Anti-pressure devices to prevent explosions

Employers should also:

  • Ensure that all tools and other items are safely stowed away to prevent unnecessary falls
  • Inspect and maintain machines regularly
  • Provide proper training for all workers
  • Report any accidents immediately to the appropriate state and federal agencies

Legal Options For Oil Field Injured Workers


If you’ve been injured in an oil rig incident, you may be eligible to receive compensation.

In most situations, you’ll either need to file a personal injury claim (in which case you will need to show that someone else’s carelessness caused your injuries) or a workers’ compensation claim (in which case you will need to show that your employer is covered by workers’ compensation insurance and that your accident occurred while doing a work activity).

With that in mind, there are a variety of state and federal regulations that may apply to your case. As a result, it’s critical to get the advice of an expert attorney before taking any legal action. Contact Texas Oil Rig Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation. 

Call us at (888) 997-2148 now to schedule a free consultation today.

We take cases on a contingency fee basis and there are no costs unless we win, and the consultation is completely FREE. Contact us to learn what Texas Personal Injury Lawyers can accomplish for you.