One of the most vital, and dangerous, occupations in the U.S. is working in the oilfields.
The job is challenging enough on its own, and there are long shifts that take their toll on the worker’s body and long stretches away from home and family that take their toll on the worker’s heart. While the pay is frequently very respectable, it comes at the price of hard work and long hours.
Despite being paid well, the workers also sometimes face additional and unnecessary risks due to defective equipment. Equipment failure can result in significant injury to the workers. In the worst cases, accidents can even be fatal.
If disaster strikes, it’s important to have a team of experienced New Mexico oilfield accident attorneys like our team at Stewart + Harmonson to help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Read on to learn more.
Why Does Oilfield Equipment Fail?
Oilfields in New Mexico and throughout the U.S. use all different kinds of equipment. So what happens when this equipment fails?
This is a complicated issue.
At its core is the answer that, generally speaking, there is no good reason for any defective oilfield equipment to be operated in the first place.
Even though not every defect can cause catastrophic failure, it can still result in significant injury to those operating it or nearby. No matter what the oil extraction goals are of the oil company overseeing the operation, that extraction is still only supposed to be done with well-maintained, fully inspected, and safe-to-use equipment.
When oilfield equipment fails, it is often because the company running it has chosen to cut corners on maintenance, or has tried to get by with a smaller budget by skipping expensive repairs to problems that pose safety risks. While these aren’t the only reasons that the equipment can develop defects that eventually lead to failure, they are some of the most common.
Other possible machinery defect causes include:
- Design or manufacturing flaws that are overlooked before being put into production, or which are found and are purposely not addressed.
- Excessive corrosion in safety-sensitive valves or pipes eventually contributes to the failure of the component.
- Damage to tongs or cables that either requires repair or necessitates replacement of the component and is ultimately neglected.
- Insufficient or completely absent safety processes and preventative measures lead to hazardous conditions and potential accidents.
When these needs for maintenance, repairs, or equipment replacement are ignored or neglected – whether on purpose or unintentionally – it can create the ideal environment for catastrophic failure.
The gas leaks, fires, and explosions that can result from these failures can injure, maim, and even kill those working at the site. Additionally, homes and families that live near the oilfield may also be affected by the explosions or fires, forcing them from their homes in some cases.
If You Have Been Injured By Defective Oilfield Equipment
The most important thing to remember if you’re injured in an oilfield accident due to defective equipment is to document as much as you can and work with an attorney.
This means having your employer fill out an accident report, seeking medical attention immediately, and taking as many photos and videos of the accident scene as possible.
An experienced New Mexico oilfield accident attorney will be able to use this documentation to bolster your claim for damages, giving you a better chance of recovering everything you are entitled to.
Work With Stewart + Harmonson Today
Before you start your claim, contact the legal team at Stewart + Harmonson so you can discuss the details of your case in a confidential environment. Not only do we have more than 40 years of combined experience, but we have extensive familiarity with the oil & gas industry.
We’ll be your advocate and legal representative, handling all of your communication regarding the accident so you can focus on healing.