The hazards of the oil fields are well publicized, and in spite of an industry-wide effort to keep hazardous conditions at acceptable levels, serious injuries and deaths still occur. Oil well drilling, whether it is onshore or offshore, can be very dangerous. Gas leaks resulting in explosions are the most dangerous of these accidents.
Although accident frequencies in the petroleum and gas industries are at low levels when compared to other industries, because the main products of the industry are combustible and potentially explosive, safety is always an important issue. Drilling operations are subject to dangerous blowouts, and all phases of oil and gas production and processing present dangers of fires and explosions. The handling of heavy pipe and other equipment also involves health and safety risks. Noise, vibration and exposure to toxic chemicals are further issues in both upstream and downstream operations. Oil rig accidents and oil field accidents happen daily, and under most circumstance they could have been prevented.
Due to the hazardous nature of the industry, oil companies are subject to strict state and federal regulations. The industry is required to promote safety in every step of the production process. Safety training frequently commences on an employee’s first week on the job. This training is often repeated annually and additional safety training may be initiated at any time. In addition, the oil and gas industry enforces some of the strictest drug and alcohol policies in existence. In spite of these efforts, serious accidents and fatalities continue to take place.