Drilling accidents have a much higher occurrence rate in the oil and gas industry, compared to on-the-job accidents in other industries. Back in 2003, both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) started tracking data of injuries reported in the oil and gas industry.

According to the CDC study, from the period of 2003 to 2010, there was a total of 128 fatalities (deaths).1 Data from the BLS from 2006 to 2008 during the same period discovered there were:

  • 21 fatalities in 2006
  • 10 fatalities in 2007
  • 18 fatalities in 20082

The reported deaths were not the only types of fatal injuries workers experienced. Data collected by the BLS for all fatal accidents, including deaths for the period between 2003 and 2011 in the private mining industry, in which the oil and gas drilling industry falls, indicated that more than 70 percent of all major fatal accidents occurred in the oil and gas industry.3

In the oil and gas industry alone, this amounted to:

  • 2003 – 85 fatal injuries
  • 2004 – 98 fatal injuries
  • 2005 – 98 fatal injuries
  • 2006 – 125 fatal injuries
  • 2007 – 122 fatal injuries
  • 2008 – 120 fatal injuries
  • 2009 – 68 fatal injuries
  • 2010 – 107 fatal injuries
  • 2011 – 112 fatal injuries

Part of the reason for the decline in 2009 was attributed to changes in workplace practices, better safety training, and other such factors. However, during this period many baby boomers were retiring, so there was an influx of new employees to this industry. This could account for the increase in fatal injuries for the following years.

Why Are Accident Rates Higher in the Oil and Gas Industry?

Part of the reason for a higher incidence of reported fatal injuries has to do with the different types of working conditions found in this industry. Employees are also expected to work outdoors in most types of weather conditions, from hot summer days to wet rainy winters. Plus, there are both onshore and offshore drilling operations, and each poses its own sets of risks.


Not to mention, employees can be expected to work long shifts—sometimes as many as 12 to 14 hours a day for several days or even weeks at a time with little or insufficient time off. This can lead to exhaustion from doing repetitive tasks, which also can cause unexpected accidents and injuries.

What if I Am Injured on the Job?

There are different laws regarding personal injuries while on the job. For instance, offshore drilling operation workers are often covered under the Jones Act, which covers maritime accidents.

Whether you were injured onshore or offshore, here in Texas or another state, it is always in your best interest to speak to a personal injury lawyer with experience in drilling rig and oil and gas industry accidents, injuries, and deaths.

Talking to a lawyer is completely confidential and helps you learn more about your rights and options.  If you want to speak with our lawyers here at Johnson Garcia LLP about your drilling rig accident, call our law firm at (832) 844-6700 to arrange a free consultation today!


  1. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/offshore-workers-fatalities-cdc-study_n_3180566
  2. https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/osh/os/osar0013.htm
  3. https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/osar0018.htm