Jobs on the oilfield come with a reputation of being dangerous, but people still do them because they pay well. Workers are often injured in oilfield accidents that usually involve the use of heavy equipment. But, recent studies have shown that most oilfield injuries are caused by commercial truck accidents. The shortage of qualified truck drivers has become the main cause of these accidents.
Over the past decade, the increasing shortage of truck drivers has plagued the oil industry. Various factors have caused a lull in the job market. The results have had an on deliveries by oil companies, which has increased the risk of truck accidents on the road.
The leading causes of oilfield accidents
The immediate need for truck drivers has led to a spike in oilfield accidents. Some of the leading causes for these wrecks include driving for long periods, poor vehicle maintenance, and hauling over-sized loads. Driving on roads that cannot handle the size of oilfield trucks and being inexperienced also contribute to accidents.
The majority of the injuries sustained can range from slight to severe, and in some tragic cases, death can occur. The most common injuries from oilfield accidents are broken bones, spinal and nerve damage, traumatic brain injury, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, and death.
How the truck driver shortage has affected the industry
The oil industry is in the middle of a labor struggle, especially in the area of truck driving. Employee shortages at many oilfield sites have reached throughout the workforce. But, they are more prevalent in high-skilled positions.
The recent shortage of oilfield truck drivers could intensify because of the growth of United States shale production. The demand has spiked because of the amount of rigs on the road, greater sand usage at oilfield sites, and higher water cuts in the Permian Basin. A shortage of oil production and new electronic devices that watch a driver’s time behind the wheel also affect the industry.
The recent production growth of the West Texas Permian Basin has been the main cause of a shale revival in the state as oil prices increase. This has been a direct result of oil companies scheduling non-stop use of truckloads of sand to open the rock formation inside oil wells. The process forces the removal of water from the area, allowing the oil to rise to the surface.
But, the shortage of truck drivers has caused a lag in transportation of oil. Also, oil companies have found that new federal safety requirements to reduce trucker’s fatigue have slowly cut into their profits. The recent recovery in oil prices and booming production in the Permian Basin should allow oil companies to re-hire truck drivers who lost their jobs from the results of the 2014 oil price crash. But, that hasn’t been the case.
Hiring inexperienced truck drivers
The scarcity of truck drivers has more to do with the lack of experience among available workers than with an aging workforce. With the growing need for more truck drivers, oil companies have relaxed their hiring requirements, allowing under-qualified applicants to fill the open positions. In some cases, they may overlook poor driving records or fail to verify an applicant’s credentials. This lowers the skill level required for oilfield truck drivers and puts all drivers at risk.
Inexperienced truck drivers do not have the skills and training needed to be safe on the road. Few have the skill to drive a truck on a narrow dirt road with other commercial vehicles either. The lifestyle of a truck driver isn’t for everyone, which presents another barrier to cross in recruiting new drivers. Some are unaware of the risks associated with being an oil industry truck driver because of the lack of training provided before their first job.
What to do if you have been in an oilfield accident
If you have been in a wreck or oilfield accident, the first thing you should focus on is your recovery. This means hospital visits, doctor’s fees, surgeries, and rehabilitation costs will add up. It may be difficult to focus on healing because you could be out of work indefinitely and unable to support yourself or your family. If worker’s compensation is not available, you may not have any income at all. Also, the oil company who as at fault for your accident could only offer a small sum of money for their negligence.
All these reasons are why it is best to hire an experienced attorney. Attorneys who are familiar with work accidents, oilfield accidents, and personal injury claims will use their expertise to get you the help you deserve. They will focus on winning your case and helping you recover medical, punitive, and emotional damages while you focus on resting and healing.
Need help with an oilfield accident lawsuit? Call Attorney Dean Boyd
If you have been injured in the Oilfield due to negligence and are not sure what to do, Attorney Dean Boyd and his caring team are here to help. You can call us at (806) 242-3333 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Services. You can also visit our offices at 4423 SW 45th Avenue in Amarillo, Texas or 5012 50th Street, #103 in Lubbock, Texas for more information.