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The U.S. oil and gas industry supports much of this country’s energy needs but the work can be dangerous for employees. Accidents can be prevented, and it is up to employees and their employers to understand and practice important safety protocols every single day.
Other hazards include vehicle collisions, machine hazards, confined spaces, and hazardous energy. Here are safety tips for oil and gas workers and their employers:
High-visibility clothing is crucial for oil and gas workers, and includes reflective, high-visibility fabrics and striping. Safety gear like helmets, the proper footwear, goggles, and respirators also prevent accidents and injuries.
Employers are responsible for workplace safety, and this includes ensuring that all employees are trained and given orientations when first hired. Part of this is learning safety procedures like a stop-work authority, and mentoring programs can help with all of this. Employees should also have documentation of the company’s standard operating procedures.
Even though oil and gas job sites are different from office workspaces, it is still important to remember the basics. Drilling areas must be clear of slippery surfaces, damage, and other tripping hazards. Proper lighting is also important. The rule of thumb here is to be aware of your surroundings.
When small accidents occur, they should be logged in and reported. This way, a minor issue can be addressed before it escalates. Serious site accidents must also be reported and thoroughly documented.
Some oil and gas workers are hired on a short-term basis and while the extra hands may be needed, they can present more risk to themselves and others. These workers should also have orientations and be properly trained and supervised. After all, they are exposed to the same hazards as the other employees.
During the extraction processes, certain areas and equipment are left dormant for repairs, testing, and equipment movement. These must be clearly marked with tags, signs, or tape. Employees who work in these areas have to be instructed on the procedures. Employers are responsible for explaining the dangers of reenergizing and restarting equipment that is in lockout or tag-out status.
Trained employees can be authorized to lockout machines, and no one else should attempt to do so. The trained workers can also be responsible for maintenance and repair operations. Untrained, unauthorized personnel can cause serious accidents when they do not understand or follow the proper procedures.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), four out of every 10 oil and gas worker fatalities are from vehicle incidents. Managers must manage the safety protocols for employee transportation, which is often in distant, remote areas. Trained drivers should complete pre-trip inspections and should never speed. It is also best to only use approved driving surfaces and to be alert for any hazards.
Like any other worksite, maintenance is key for safety. This pertains to more than just the equipment; vehicle and tool maintenance is also important. There should be maintenance schedules and regular walk-throughs to check the site for possible problems and adherence to safety rules: complacency leads to work-related accidents.
Oil and gas industry work can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. If you have chronic pain, see a doctor. The same holds true for your mental health. When you are not feeling well at work, focus and alertness can be impacted. It only takes a second to become injured when you are distracted. Just as importantly, if you have a chronic illness, get that checked out as well. It could be serious and could be work-related.
Drilling rigs are constantly changing work environments, and employees get moved around from spot to spot. This means that you might be familiar with your area, but not others. Walk the job every now and then to understand where things are. Look over the emergency evacuation plan, know where the safety equipment is, and memorize the escape routes.
Oil and gas industry employees who notice hazards can do themselves and everyone else on the site a big favor by pointing them out to supervisors. This is all about open communication, which should be encouraged by employers. That goes both ways, of course. Safety managers have to be proactive about communicating workplace risks in real time. Weekly safety meetings, emails, and other methods keep everyone in the loop and should be an important part of the workplace.
Oil and gas industry workers can be injured or lose their lives when hazardous energy is not safely controlled. Accidents can lead to burns, crushing, electrocution, lacerations, fractures, amputations, and worse. Here are some examples of how these accidents happen:
If you work in the oil and gas industry and were seriously injured on the job, it helps to have an experienced team on your side. At Rhoades & Morrow, our knowledgeable, skilled Delaware work injury lawyers have handled many of these cases and always fight to protect our clients’ rights. For a free consultation, call our Wilmington, Delaware offices at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.
Repetitive stress injuries affect the nerves, muscles, ligaments, or tendons and are caused by constant use or repetitive motions. This persistent overuse of the same muscles and other structures leads to temporary or permanent injuries to that part of the body. Repetitive stress injuries frequently affect the arms, shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, fingers, and thumbs.
Repetitive stress injuries commonly affect workers who perform the same physical tasks for prolonged periods of time. These injuries impact many different types of workers and cost employers billions of dollars in lost productivity and Workers’ Compensation claims every year.
There are steps workers can take to prevent these debilitating injuries:
The goal is to prevent repetitive stress injuries before they occur. However, it is still important to recognize the signs and symptoms of overuse so you can get the necessary treatment and possibly avoid more serious complications. Repetitive injury symptoms include:
Overuse injuries vary based on the motions and parts of the body stressed by repetitive motions. Here are the most common overuse conditions:
With so many variable at play, it is difficult to say without a consultation with a lawyer. However, if you were hurt on the job during the course of your normal work responsibilities, you may be entitled to benefits for your medical care, lost wages, and other compensable expenses under Workers’ Compensation law.
If you are injured at work, you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible and request medical attention. Failure to complete these steps can make you ineligible to collect benefits.
If your injury is not the result of a single accident or event, you must report your condition after receiving a diagnosis for a repetitive stress injury. Save all documentation related to your condition and your care. Give your employer notice of a claim for compensation for the period of disability starting from the third day following the accident or knowledge of a diagnosis.
Your employer is required to collect this information and submit a report in writing to the Office of Workers’ Compensation within 10 days. If you cannot reach an agreement and your claim is denied, you have two years from the accident or diagnosis date to file a petition. While legal representation is not required, it is beneficial for navigating the complex Workers’ Compensation system and building a strong case for benefits.
For decades, our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have been fighting for the rights of workers across the state. We oversee complex work injury cases. If you have been injured at work and need help with your claim, contact us today. Call 302-427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free case review today. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.
A construction site is an inherently dangerous place. Heavy machinery and equipment, power tools, working at heights, and unfinished electrical work are just some of the occupational hazards that construction workers are exposed to on a daily basis. However, one safety hazard that is often overlooked is the risk of injury from toxic chemicals. Hazardous chemicals cause more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 fatalities every year in the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Unfortunately, construction workers may not even realize they have been exposed to a dangerous chemical until they develop a health condition or injury related to toxic exposure, such as:
Exposure to toxic chemicals can cause both minor conditions, such as skin allergies and long-term serious injuries, including damage to the lungs and other internal organs. In the worst cases, exposure can lead to life-threatening illnesses like cancer.
Chemicals are everywhere in the materials used for construction, and their use is strictly regulated by OSHA. Some of the most dangerous and prevalent types of chemicals found on construction sites include the following:
Chemical exposure on construction sites can happen in different ways. Dangerous chemicals can be present in solid, liquid, or gas form, such as dust, fibers, mists, and fumes. They can travel through the air and be breathed in, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin. Some chemicals release toxins as they break down. Others become even more threatening when they come into contact with heat and fire.
New construction may require the handling, cutting, or welding of materials containing hazardous chemicals. Demolition of older buildings can release high volumes of toxic smoke and gases when they are deconstructed, including substances that have deemed too dangerous for further use.
Workers can be injured by chemicals through exposure to materials that they use every day, such as industrial solvents, primers, and soldering agents. However, construction accidents involving chemicals can also seriously harm workers.
OSHA has mandatory procedures to clearly identify and safely store hazardous chemicals and requires that employers train workers on how to safely handle them. Additionally, employers must provide safety equipment to workers at risk for toxic chemical exposure, including eye protection, air filtration, and gloves.
Proper ventilation is essential for protecting workers from the unseen threat of exposure to and absorption of chemicals being used in construction. Emergency escape routes must be planned and posted so that workers know what to do in the event of a fire or the release of toxic chemicals.
Training must be given in a language that the worker can understand to ensure they fully comprehend the health risks associated with the chemicals in their environment. They should know how to use the personal protective equipment (PPE) associated with each task.
Construction workers who are injured on the job are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, however, those with serious and life-threatening injuries or illnesses may need more than what their benefits provide. Depending on the circumstances, there may be more legal options available for compensation. While the Workers’ Compensation system prevents employers from being sued for workplace chemical injuries, if another party’s negligence contributed to the toxic chemical exposure, they could be held liable. Examples of third-party liability include:
A successful third-party claim can recover compensation for the types of non-economic damages not included under Workers’ Compensation, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. Consult with an experienced lawyer to determine if you are eligible to file a claim for benefits.
If you are a construction worker who suffered chemical injuries on the job, our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Our experienced team can answer all of your questions. To schedule a free case evaluation today, call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.
While the winter season can be beautiful and enjoyable for many families, it does not come without its risks, especially for those working outdoors in the harsh conditions. Outdoor workers can be injured in unique ways during the cold winter months. Outdoor workers are vulnerable to the following hazards during the winter season:
Any worker whose job requires them to stay outdoors for prolonged periods in winter conditions is at risk for cold stress injuries and illness. This includes construction workers, utility workers, delivery drivers, postal workers, and highway and transit workers.
All outdoor workers should know the hazards of the winter season. Both workers and employers should follow ways to prevent injury during winter and all year-round.
Now that you know the common dangers of working outside in the winter, you should know some tips on how to stay safe and avoid these hazards. Some helpful tips for outdoor workers include:
Additionally, outdoor workers should be trained to recognize that a colleague may be having trouble and needs help by being familiar with these signs and symptoms:
If you have been injured on the job while working outside in wintery conditions, seek medical attention immediately, and then report your injury to your supervisor or manager as soon as possible. It is important to see a doctor after any type of work accident, even if you are not sure if you have an injury because you may not be in a position to evaluate your condition on your own. Reporting your injury to your employer right away is important because there are time limits for filing for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
If you have questions about filing a claim for benefits, or your claim has been denied, one of our experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.
Welding is among the most highly-regulated professions in the United States, yet workers in this industry continue to face serious dangers on the job. The tools and materials welders use in construction make them vulnerable to accidents and injuries. Proper safety training, equipment, and procedures are essential for protecting welders.
Listed below are common injuries seen in welders.
Welders wear extensive equipment to protect their eyes and face from heat, chemicals, and airborne debris. If shields, helmets, safety goggles, and other gear are not provided, or if they are defective, workers may experience painful lacerations, burns, and other trauma to the upper body.
Electrical injuries are skin or internal bodily injuries caused by contact with low-voltage and high-voltage sources. This occurs in several ways. Contact with a live conductor can cause electric shock. Electrical welding injuries also occur when the welder unknowingly creates a bridge between the live welding supply (electrode) and the return (workpiece).
Burns are the most common, nonfatal, electrical injury. Burns happen when an individual makes contact with energized electrical wiring or equipment. Musculoskeletal injuries, broken bones, and amputations are some complications of electrical injuries.
Welder’s flash, or arc eye, is a painful eye injury that occurs when the unprotected eye is exposed to UV rays. Welding flames and arcs produce intense, visible UV and infrared radiation. If the eyes are unprotected, UV radiation damages the outer corneal cells of the eye, damaging the nerves underneath. This painful injury is like a sunburn on the eyes.
Among all of the construction trades, welders experience the highest rates of noise-related hearing impairment. A high noise level is considered to be above 85 decibels as perceived by the human ear. Air carbon arc gouging, flame cutting, and other welding tasks may produce noises levels up to and over 100 decibels.
Because it has no real symptoms, noise-induced hearing loss often goes undiagnosed and untreated until it has progressed and is more resistant to treatment. Unfortunately, in some cases, hearing loss is irreversible.
Welders are also exposed to a range of metals, gasses, and decomposition materials on the construction site. Acute exposure to these substances may result in temporary eye, nose, and throat irritation, dizziness, and nausea. More severe conditions include ulcers, cancers, and organ and nervous system damage.
Every worker should be able to do their job in a safe and hazard-free environment. However, some occupations come with a higher risk of injuries. Welders who are injured in a construction accident may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation to cover their medical costs, lost income, and other expenses.
Workers’ Compensation benefits cannot make injuries go away, but they can provide some peace of mind knowing expenses are covered.
If you are a welder and have a work injury, contact one of our Wilmington construction injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for legal assistance. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.
Dec. 6th is National Miners Day, which is held every year to increase safety awareness for high-risk industries like mining. The observance was first established in 2009 to remember miners who have been passed away on the job. Like all employees, miners are entitled to safe work environments, and this important observance highlights ways to achieve this goal.
Before it became a national observance, in 1907, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) started National Miners Day to honor workers who were killed in a serious mining accident that year. Over 360 miners perished in two West Virginia mines that year due to a serious explosion. Before 1907, other mining disasters killed tens of thousands of miners.
The mining tragedies of the early 20th century paved the way for the creation of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910. This organization conducts research that enhances the health and safety of miners. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is another important agency that works to eliminate mining-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
As of 2022, there are over 62,000 employed in the coal mining industry, according to IBISWorld’s Coal Mining in the U.S. Industry Report. Mining companies and safety organizations commemorate National Miners Day by focusing on training and awareness for their employees and the public.
Explosions are not the only significant risk that miners face. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease, is often seen in people who have been exposed to coal dust for long periods of time. Although modern technology has decreased the number of mining explosions over the years, thousands of people still die each year from black lung disease.
Coal dust exposure can also cause other obstructive lung diseases, like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. While smoking cigarettes has not been shown to increase the likelihood of developing black lung disease, it can worsen the damage and possibly lead to COPD. Non-smoking coal workers have a much lower risk of getting COPD than coal workers who smoke.
Another health problem that impacts miners is whole-body vibration (WBV). This can happen when miners sit on heavy machinery like jumbo operators that are working on uneven surfaces. The signs of WBV include cardiovascular changes, digestive problems, vision impairment, and painful musculoskeletal disorders.
Heat stress is also possible in the mining industry, especially in hot and humid work environments. The symptoms of heat stress include fatigue, distress, and heat stroke. This can happen in open and closed pits, but UV stress is from exposure to sunlight. Excess UV radiation puts workers at a higher risk for skin cancer as well as eye damage, nausea, headaches, and dehydration.
Heavy machinery and drilling produce constant noise that can lead to significant hearing damage in miners. Even when employees get used to the sounds, damage can still happen. In many cases, the hearing loss is not noticed until it is too late.
Miners who do a lot of heavy lifting and repetitive work can also suffer from musculoskeletal disorders that affect their muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. These medical problems can be caused by slip and falls and other accidents.
The NIOSH Mining Program’s research includes:
Facility inspections help reduce mining accidents. Citations can be issued for violations, and miners and equipment can be withdrawn until the hazardous situations are corrected. All workplace accidents, complaints of hazardous conditions, and violations should also be investigated by governing authorities.
The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 provided needed funding for state health and safety training programs, with grants provided by the MSHA. Mining operation training programs and health and safety conferences are critical for this industry, as is proper oversight. Mining plans need to be reviewed, as do a company’s ventilation, training plans, roof control, and emergency response protocols. Instructors also need to be trained and certified to direct safety programs.
In the U.S., coal miners are required to complete free medical exams before they begin working in the industry and three years afterward. Miners who continue working in the field should be offered the same exam every five years following the initial screening. There is no cost for coal miners to take the examinations, which take place at NIOSH-approved medical facilities or jobsites.
These basic examinations include blood pressure screenings, chest X-rays, and lung function tests. The health care professional administering the exam will also record the miner’s work history and perform a respiratory health assessment.
Additionally, miners who are injured on the job are entitled to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Those who need help with a claim can seek legal guidance from a lawyer.
High-risk professions like mining put employees in danger. If you have a job-related illness or injury from work, contact one of our skilled Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form today to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.
Whether you view brewing beer as an art or a science, or both, there is no denying that the bar and brewery industry can be just as dangerous as many other workplaces. A brewery is filled with specialized equipment and many moving parts that employees have to be aware of to prevent injury. The same can be said for those that work at a bar.
According to a Reuters analysis of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data, today’s smaller craft brewers are almost four times as dangerous as larger breweries. From safety issues such as slip and falls to unsecured kegs causing crushing injuries or chemical spills, working in the bar and brewery business can be quite hazardous.
Bar and brewery owners have a responsibility to their workers to promote and maintain a safe environment. However, workers have to do their part, stay alert, and communicate with each other to be as safe as possible. Here are a few safety tips for bar and brewery workers:
If you work at a brewery or at a bar and have a workplace injury, contact one of our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow if you need help with your claim. Call us at 302-427-9500 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Milford, Bear, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.
Construction work is dangerous. Without proper safety precautions, workers can easily get injured on the job. One of the most devastating and life-changing injuries is amputation. According to a report by the Amputee Coalition, about three in every 20,000 construction workers suffers from an amputation injury.
Whether a worker loses a body part immediately in an accident or at a later point in time, it can mean having to find another way to earn a living or dealing with chronic pain afterwards. Construction workers should be aware of the following safety hazards that can result in amputation:
Many injuries and Workers’ Compensation claims can be prevented by following safety regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and eliminating amputation hazards through methods such as:
If you are a construction worker who has an amputation injury, contact one of our Wilmington construction injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for legal help right away. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we represent injured workers throughout the state.
Despite the fact that getting enough sleep is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a growing number of Americans are functioning on too little sleep. If you work in a factory and you have trouble getting the recommended number of hours of sleep each night, you are at an increased risk of suffering a serious workplace injury.
Often, factory workers either work long shifts or they work the night shift, which means that they are working when most people are sleeping. Studies suggest that an increasing number of workers are expected to work long hours on a regular basis. This makes it challenging for workers to keep up with their other responsibilities, like family obligations, housework, and other tasks. In addition, it can make getting enough sleep that much more challenging.
The following are examples of how shift work and long hours can negatively impact factory workers:
Getting the recommended hours of sleep on a regular basis has a number of benefits, such as:
Getting the recommended number of hours of sleep is easier said than done. This is particularly true for night shift workers whose circadian rhythm is disrupted. Shift workers and employees who work the night shift often experience the impact of a disrupted sleep cycle more than other workers. However, there are proactive steps you can take to improve your sleep and reduce the risk of injuries:
If you do become injured in a workplace accident, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you need help with your claim, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you are a factory worker and suffered a serious injury at work, do not hesitate to contact one of our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for legal assistance. We will help you navigate every step of the claims process. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We are located in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.
Electrical hazards are among the most prolific dangers on a construction site. Temporary power sources, exposed wires, and exposure to the elements are just a few of the many possible dangers that construction workers face each day.
Even if you do not work directly with electrical systems or electrically-powered equipment, you could face dangers caused by such items. You might accidentally contact something that is carrying an electrical current and suffer electric shock or even electrocution.
Electric shock and electrocution can occur on construction sites. They most often occur whenever construction workers accidentally contact high-voltage power lines. Electrocution is the most lethal and results from direct contact with power lines.
Electric shock occurs when a power line is not grounded properly and sends an electrical current through a worker’s body. Electric shock might not kill a worker, but it could in some scenarios. Instead, it often results in burn injuries that require medical care and time away from work.
An arc or flash caused by electrical equipment or exposed power lines could ignite flammable or explosive gases. Those gases could cause serious workplace injuries or death to construction workers.
A sudden release of electrical energy causes an electric arc or flash that releases electricity into the air. If that air is mixed with flammable gas, the gas could ignite or trigger a catastrophic explosion.
Electrical lines and equipment also could create tripping and falling hazards for workers. When a line or a piece of equipment is exposed or otherwise lying on the ground, a worker might catch a foot on it or step on it and lose balance. The resulting fall could cause a serious injury or even death when working from an elevated position.
When workers fall, they also might drop an electrical tool or another object. The item might cause blunt force trauma or worse if it has moving parts that are sharp or otherwise very dangerous for workers to contact.
It is important to identify high-risk areas that might pose significant risks of accidents and injuries. Dangerous areas should be clearly marked with cones, markings, and safety barriers, and workers should know of the risks.
Worksites should be regularly inspected to ensure workers are safe from exposed wires and other electrical dangers. Workers should know the correct lockout/tagout procedures and practice them regularly to help shut down electrical current when done working or if a dangerous condition might exist.
Workers should have good safety equipment, including face shields, helmets, and gloves that help protect against electrical shocks and other worksite hazards. Qualified electricians should be on the jobsite to properly maintain and repair any faulty electrical lines or systems.
If you have a workplace electrical injury and need help with your claim, speak with one of our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. You can call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.