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Oil & Gas Extraction Accidents

Oil and Gas Extraction Accidents and Injuries

As America attempts to curb its dependence on foreign oil, more efforts are being made to produce these valuable goods domestically. This means a booming oil and gas industry, one that provides hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. In 2008, 161,000 people worked in oil and gas extraction alone. But these rich resources come at a cost- the business of extraction is a dangerous one, killing and injuring hundreds every year.


  • BP Deepwater Horizon explosion April 20, 2010
    • 11 Deaths
    • 17 Injuries
  • Clearbrook, Minnesota pipeline fire in November 28, 2007
    • 2 Deaths
  • Texas City, Texas refinery explosion in March 23, 2005
    • 15 Deaths
    • 170 Injuries


Information below provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • A total of 120 fatal work injuries occurred in the oil and gas extraction industry in 2008.
  • Men accounted for all of these fatal work injuries in 2008.
  • Workers age 25 to 34 incurred the most fatal work injuries (48 fatalities or 40 %).
  • The three states with the most oil and gas extraction industry fatal work injuries in 2008 were Texas (41 fatal work injuries), Oklahoma (21 fatal work injuries), and Louisiana (13 fatal work injuries).

The three most frequent fatal events in 2008 were transportation incidents (41%), contact with objects and equipment (25 %), and fires and explosions (15%).

  • Transportation Incidents
    • Three-quarters involved highway incidents
    • There were four fatal work injuries where a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment
    • There were five fatal aircraft work injuries
  • Contact with Objects and Equipment
    • 22 of the 30 incidents involving contact with objects/equipment resulted in death
  • Fires and Explosions
    • 21 fatalities in 2006
    • 10 fatalities in 2007
    • 18 fatalities in 2008

Hydro-fracking may just be the future of gas industry. This controversial drilling technique is revolutionizing the drilling process- allowing companies to pump gas where they were unable to before- through shale rock formations.

As these natural gas rigs are popping up all over Texas and beyond, so are debates concerning their safety. Proponents say hydro-fracking could increase the nation’s gross domestic energy product, provide more domestic jobs, and decrease our nation’s dependency on foreign oil. Those opposed say the practice could pollute our air and water, subject workers and communities to toxic chemicals and substances, and cause earthquakes.

  • “Fracking” is a drilling technology that involves fracturing ground rock in order to remove natural gas.
  • “Hydro-fracking” or high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing is when drillers inject water and chemicals into rock in order to break it. Once the high pressure breaks the rock, sand and other proppants (chemicals) are injected to hold the cracks open so the gas can flow out (
  • This has opened up the possibility of drilling wells horizontally. Previously, drilling through shale formations was thought to be unproductive.

In South Texas, the hot spot for hydro-fracking is the Eagle Ford Shale formation, or “play.” More than 24 oil and gas companies are utilizing the Eagle Ford Shale play, which spans across 30 Texas counties. According to the Eagle Ford Shale play website:

  • The Eagle Ford Shale is located in South Texas.
  • The formation produces from various depths between 4,000 and 12,000 feet.
  • The Eagle Ford Shale takes its name from the town of Eagle Ford, Texas
  • The Eagle Ford benefits from “high liquids yields across much of the play.”

The Eagle Ford Shale formation has provided many jobs for residents in South Texas but sometimes at a fatal cost. According to the San Antonio Express-News, since 2009:

  • At least 14 workers in the oil and gas industry have been killed while on the job in this oil-rich area.
  • Workers have been fatally crushed, burned, and struck by equipment while working in the area.
  • In addition, accidents on the roadways have increased as a result of the boom in the Eagle Ford Shale drilling areas.
    • In 2014, there were 3,658 serious traffic crashes in the Eagle Ford Shale region, resulting in 272 deaths (TxDOT). Both of these numbers were increases compared to the previous year.
    • Drivers in the region have to contend with heavier traffic, a high volume of heavy trucks, and oftentimes damaged roads.

Shale drilling companies are experiencing another boom on the heels of the recent, beneficial OPEC deal, which will only increase the number of traffic crashes and fatalities in the region as rigs return to the area.

If you or a loved one sustained an injury while working in the Eagle Ford Shale region, our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to review your case. Whether injured in the oil field or hit by a truck, Thomas J. Henry has the resources and team of experienced lawyers necessary to take on large oil and gas companies. Contact our offices to set up a free consultation.


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