Natural Gas Might Be Better For the Environment, But Is It For Workers?

Natural gas – it’s cleaner, it’s more efficient and it’s more affordable. This is a popular talking point that’s been increasingly prevalent in the media, in speeches from politicians and in pitches from companies with a stake in natural gas.

In many ways, natural gas might be a good thing. But for at least one subset of Americans, it is proving to be quite dangerous. Workers in natural gas extraction operations have been finding out the hard way that the working conditions surrounding this extraction can be hazardous, even to the point of being fatal.

Workers are flocking to jobs in oil and gas mining with the promise of decent pay. Sadly, many are finding out much too late that these jobs include long, grueling hours and conditions that are perilous.

Dangers in Oil And Gas Mining

Many jobs in the oil and gas extraction business are dangerous. In fact, oil and gas extraction workers experienced fatality rates that were seven times higher than all jobs in a study conducted from 2003 to 2010. The six leading causes of fatalities in this sector were vehicle accident, being struck or caught in equipment, explosions and fires, falls, confined spaces and chemical exposures. In 2014, there were 75 deaths in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas industry in Texas.

The Houston Chronicle reported in 2014 that 40 percent of U.S. oil field related fatalities during the oil boom from 2007 to 2012 in occurred in Texas. The same report also found that the federal government had failed to implement safety standards for drilling operations. In Texas, OSHA reported that 78 percent of Texas accidents could have been prevented with higher safety standards.

The Role of Fracking in Workplace Injuries

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling deep into the ground and then shooting highly pressurized water, chemicals or sand in order to extract natural gas. Fracking has been noted for the damage it causes the environment, but it might also be quite dangerous for workers.

One study found that workers were exposed to an element called silica, which can be found in the sand used for fracking. Exposure to sand and silica has been linked to respiratory problems like lung cancer. Not only have employers failed to protect their workers from these hazards, they also failed to properly notify them that they might be exposed to these chemicals on the job.

Workers are guaranteed the right to a safe workplace by federal law. If you or a loved one has been injured while working in natural gas extraction, you might be hold your employer accountable for failing to provide you with a safe work environment. At Guajardo & Marks, we have helped many workers to receive the compensation that they deserve. It’s important act quickly in these cases to maximize the possibility of a positive outcome. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.