Industrial Vehicle Accidents
Industrial work is understood to be hazardous, so it may not be surprising that injuries and fatalities occur periodically in the industry. What might be surprising, however, is how unnecessary some of those injuries are.
According to a report released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, more workers involved in oil and natural gas extraction die on the road than from any other cause. Whether in industrial vehicles, trucks or cars, oil and natural gas workers die more often on the road than they do in the field.
The only group with a higher death rate from motor vehicle fatalities was the transportation and warehousing sector.
According to researchers, one of the contributing factors to this high rate of fatalities could be the requirement for natural gas workers to drive long distances after already putting in a long day of work. Fatigue has been shown to significantly increase the rate of driver error on the road, regardless of what type of vehicle is being driven.
Unnecessary Industrial Vehicle Accidents Need to Stop
An article in the New York Times also discussed this growing trend, and specifically addressed the issue of fatigue for natural gas workers.
In the article, writer Ian Urbina interviews various workers and industry insiders to uncover the disturbing frequency with which companies skirt the edges of industry regulations to increase profits. Urbina shows how the growing number of fatalities can be attributed to the exemptions natural gas and oil field companies are able to obtain from government highway rules.
A significant amount of money is made in the oil industry, and the natural gas industry is booming. With the power of their lobbying groups, it can become difficult to place restrictions on these powerful organizations.
The power of such groups, contends Urbina, is why such dangerous exemptions have remained in place for over 50 years. While other industries are required to allow workers a certain amount of sleep before coming back to work, the oil and natural gas industry has, at times, been able to avoid such restrictions.
Normal regulations require that truck drivers operate their vehicles for no more than 14 hours a day before stopping to rest. But for the natural gas industry, workers do not have to count the time that they wait at the work site before they leave with their cargo. Sometimes workers can wait for over 10 hours with no place to nap or catch up on rest.
While it may be true that industrial vehicle accidents will happen on occasion, as a result of working in an inherently hazardous industry, regulations are in place to prevent as many such accidents as possible. When workers are injured or killed through a failure to observe safety regulations, those that are responsible should be held accountable. The help of an experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable in the pursuit of accountability.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an industrial vehicle accident through no fault of their own, contact our law offices today to see how we can help you.