One of the factors that make fracking worksites so very dangerous is the chaotic interaction of contractors on a typical jobsite.
A fracking work site will typically have anywhere from three to twenty different companies with their own employees, all working on separate parts of the same project, at the same time. Nobody can coordinate his or her activities effectively, so of course all the workers end up getting in one another’s way. Each of these workers is supposed to be following their own company’s safety rules, which are different from the rules used by all the other companies. This would be a serious annoyance at any other job, but when you’re dealing with high-pressure fracking fluid, toxic and dangerous chemicals, large trucks and motor vehicles, huge drills and equipment and explosive natural gas—well, some days it’s a wonder that anyone makes it to the end of a shift.
Consider the range of possible accidents that can occur on the jobsite:
- Motor vehicle and machinery mishaps. These can range from the driver who negligently runs over another worker at fracking site with a water pump truck or other large equipment, because “I just didn’t see Joe standing there, honest,” to being struck by another employee’s pickup truck as it drives off a site. When a worksite is overrun with employees using power tools and vehicles of all sizes, serious injuries can be frighteningly common.
- Falls. Falls are one of the most common accidents for any fracking worksite, and they are a leading cause of jobsite fatalities. They can range from a simple slip-and-fall injury that results in a severe sprain, to a forty-foot plummet for one or more fracking site employees when scaffolding or a large drill collapses. Some of our clients have fallen down these wells and vents and suffered life-changing injuries.
- Pipeline ruptures, fires, and explosions. Fire is always an imminent danger when dealing with natural gas. Explosive ruptures in pipelines can cause traumatic injury; fireballs can lead to horrific burns and wrongful death. Your employer may talk a good game, but there is no safety equipment that will save your life when a pipeline explodes. Explosions are a predictable outcome when safety is ignored and natural gas is involved. The result is catastrophic to those who are severely burned, injured, or killed.
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals. Fracking operations use volatile compounds, acids, and potent solvents. Many are known to cause cancer. If you have been exposed to these compounds accidentally, first seek emergency medical care — and then, talk to your lawyer.
- Disfiguring injuries and amputations. Whether caused by an individual error in judgment or a machine functioning improperly, an accident that causes a major disfigurement, severe scarring, or a lost limb is a life-changing event for the injured worker. Painful medical procedures and social isolation are bound to follow.
- Inadequate safety training and equipment. We’ve heard stories of a worker on a fracking jobsite who was issued a raincoat as a “safety garment” while working with concentrated hydrochloric acid. Everyone on a work site needs to have the proper equipment issued, and needs to be trained to use it effectively. But we all know that rarely happens.
- Inattentive worker errors. The worker who is daydreaming or drowsy on the job isn’t just a danger to himself — he creates a risk to everyone else on the worksite. But the days on a fracking site are long and the work is strenuous, so fatigue is bound to happen. We represented a fracking employee who was run over by a water pump truck operated by a worker who nodded off for ten minutes, was startled awake, and resumed his job and without looking in his rear view mirrors, backed over our client who was standing behind the pump truck.
- Crushing injuries. A fracking jobsite has all the dangers of a major construction zone plus those of an oil refinery. One press of the wrong button and a couple hundred pounds of weight can fall down on a worker. Crushing injuries can lead to broken bones, wrenched joints, severed limbs, and death. With so much huge equipment, equipment pinch points everywhere, so many employees and so many different companies squashed into a small area of land, severe crushing injuries are bound to injure fracking employees.
Who can you hold accountable?
Remember, if you are injured on a fracking jobsite, you can’t sue your own employer — even when it’s evident that your company or its employees were negligent. Because of workers’ compensation laws, your company is immune to workplace injury lawsuits from its own employees. However, in a complicated work environment such as a fracking operation, it’s quite possible that a contractor from another firm is really responsible for your injury, and both he and his employer can be held accountable.
That’s where Jon Ostroff comes in. Ostroff Injury Law is a unique operation: it’s the world’s first and only Frackcident™ injury law firm. Jon Ostroff wants to hear your story — and he wants to help you. Jon and his legal team will investigate your accident closely to find the person or corporation liable for your injury, and they will pursue the maximum possible recovery for your case. Call Jon today at (855) 880-6667 or fill in the online form for a FREE consultation on your case.