Krist, a catastrophic injury lawyer with The Law Office of Kevin Krist, says oil companies must improve safety measures and authorities such as OSHA should increase inspections after a new report shows oil industry deaths are on the rise.

Houston, Texas — While overall workplace deaths have declined in Texas, that is not the case in the oil industry, and Houston workplace injury attorney Kevin Krist today called on the industry and safety agencies to take steps to prevent fatalities at oil fields.

“Oil companies and the government must do more to prevent accidental workplace injuries and deaths in Texas as well as around the country,” said Krist, founder of The Law Office of Kevin Krist, a Southeast Texas personal injury firm. “Even one death is one too many, not to mention the scores of injuries oil workers suffer. Oil companies must make sure safety procedures are followed to keep workers safe.”

Krist cited a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, which reported that more workers in oil and gas production and drilling were killed on the job in Texas than those in any other major line of employment, including other dangerous industries such as agriculture and construction.

The newspaper analyzed five years of fatal accidents investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), finding that between 2007 and 2011, there were 197 oil industry deaths reported in Texas. In the same time period, the average number of oil industry deaths reported each year in Texas was 39, and three employers had three or more oil worker deaths.

The newspaper reported that OSHA investigated at least 84 oil industry accident cases, and dozens more oil workers died in job-related traffic accidents that OSHA does not review.

“These statistics are unacceptable,” Krist said. “Oil companies need to invest more in training and safety equipment to save the lives of these workers.”

According to the Houston Chronicle article, OSHA has called on Texas oil and gas companies to participate in a voluntary temporary work stoppage and training events to draw attention to life-threatening risks.

OSHA has increased routine inspections of oil well drilling sites across the country, completing 244 inspections in Texas in 2012, three times as many as in 2009. But that’s a very small portion of Texas drill sites. The newspaper reported 22,479 oil/gas drilling permits were issued in Texas in 2009.

“While I applaud the increase in proactive inspections of Texas oil drilling sites, it’s still not enough,” Krist said. “I urge OSHA and other agencies to further increase inspections and fines for companies that don’t comply. Making drill sites safe should be the main priority for everyone involved, and a vigilant inspection system helps accomplish that.”

The newspaper reported that the oil industry deaths occurred throughout the state, including the Permian Basin, the Barnett Shale play in the Fort Worth Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale play in Southeast Texas. Causes of death include impact from flying metal, getting caught in equipment such as rotary drilling machines, falls, electrocution and inhalation of poisonous gases.

Krist urged anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in an oil field accident to seek legal counsel from a qualified Houston workplace accident law firm such as the Law Office of Kevin Krist.

“Dealing with a workplace accident or wrongful death such as those that occur in Texas oil fields can be devastating for a family,” he said. “Our firm has the experience to advise you about whether you have a claim for compensation.” 

About The Law Office of Kevin Krist

The Law Office of Kevin Krist is a Houston personal injury law firm dedicated to protecting Southeast Texas residents who have suffered catastrophic injuries in serious and tragic accidents. For more than 25 years, the firm has represented clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims involving auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, business litigation, catastrophic injury, defective products, explosion or burn injuries, maritime injuries, medical malpractice, spinal injury, traumatic brain injury and workplace accidents. The firm serves accident and injury victims throughout Houston, Harris County, Pasadena, Katy, Baytown, League City and surrounding areas. The firm’s office is located 3401 Allen Parkway, Suite 102, Houston, TX 77019. To learn more about The Law Office of Kevin Krist, call 281-677-3965 or use the firm’s online contact form.