Fracking Injuries: OIl & Gas Industry Creates Environmental and Health Hazards
Toxic chemicals and accidents due to fracking activity account for many preventable injuries and illnesses each year. But companies are not taking responsibility for unsafe workplaces, and public health problems reflect their negligence.
It is not surprising that the large corporations responsible for many occupational health risks downplay the toxic nature of the fracking business, and in turn, fail to properly study the effects of toxic exposure, and fail to warn and protect employees. With that said, any employee injured on a fracking worksite may have a claim against their employer.
Because of accidents and chemical exposures, oil and gas drilling workers have a fatality rate seven times greater than total industry as a whole.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has conducted recent studies that show fracking workers may be exposed to high levels of silica in the dust surrounding work sites, and even if using respirators, can fall ill. Silica crystals and other chemicals can enter the workers lungs, causing permanent lung damage and possibly lung cancer.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio Toxic Tort and Cincinnati Catastrophic Injury Attorney, representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of civil litigation claims.
Fracking Industry Linked to Occupational and Public Health Issues
Fracking is a relatively new industry, and in many ways is still in the experimental stage of development. Obviously, the practice of finding and extracting oil and gas is very profitable, and creates jobs in certain areas of the country. However, the economic benefits are often outweighed by terrible injuries that occur on the job, and in regions where environmental contamination is present.
There are hundreds of new studies assessing the health risks of fracking, an although many are still ongoing, there is a consensus among some medical experts that toxic chemicals used in the fracking processes are very dangerous to workers and nearby residents, and are likely to affect those who face regular exposure.
Common illnesses and injuries that may be related to fracking job include the following:
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Birth defects
- Neurological issues
- Bone fractures
- Burn injuries
- Brain injuries
Occupational and Environmental Exposure on Fracking Work Sites
Silica sand is the primary agent used to fracture rocks underground and keep those cracks open. If not properly controlled, “frac sand” can cause lung cancer, silicosis and other fatal diseases in exposed workers. This is only one of the toxins employees face on worksites. Other dangerous chemicals include:
- Hydrochloric acid
- Ethylene glycol
- Ammonium persulfate
- Methylene chloride
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Common Violations of Environmental and Public Health Protections
More progressive states and countries have banned fracking because of the known and still unknown health and environmental risks. Some areas that have seen a fracking boom are also reconsidering the benefits versus the concerns over health and environment.
While it is still legal most places, companies regularly violate the law and endanger workers and the public. Common violations include:
- Toxic chemical spills on drilling sites and seep into local soil and water
- On-site chemical fires and explosions
- Endangering drinking water
- Polluting waterways
- Improper disposal of waste
- Injuring Workers
- Polluting adjacent land and private properties
Corporations Recently Targeted in Toxic Fracking Lawsuits
Several large companies are responsible for drilling wells and managing fracking operations in the United States. They are not always cognizant of the dangers their employees face on work sites, and do not properly protect workers to the best of their ability.
When employers put profit ahead of worker safety, they can be found negligent when fracking injuries occur, or when environmental damage negatively affects property values.
Hydraulic fracturing is a complex process that involves many different companies, responsible for the technology, transportation of materials, chemical manufacturing and transport, land maintenance, and distributors of the end product. Some large corporations that have been recently named in personal injury, fracking injuries and property damage lawsuits include the following:
- Chevron Corp.
- ExxonMobil Corp.
- ConocoPhillips Co.
- EOG Resources Inc.
- Continental Resources Inc.
- Whiting Petroleum Corp.
- Marathon Oil Corp.
- QEP Resources
- Hess Corp.
- Samson Oil and Gas Ltd.
- GasFrac Energy Services
- Spectra Energy Corp.
- Antero Resources
- Enterprise Products Partners
- Plains All American Pipeline
- U.S. Silica
Compensation for Victims of Fracking Injuries and Chemical Exposure
America’s oil and gas companies, some of the largest and most profitable corporate entities in the country, have a responsibility to protect workers and self-regulate with safe working environments.
When they fail to protect workers, and when fracking causes irreparable environmental damage, they should compensate employees and property owners for the damage they have caused.
Workers at fracking sites nationwide who have developed health issues may have claims against the product manufacturers or company responsible for the worksite that created the dangerous condition leading to the injury.
Legal Action Following Fracking Injuries
If you have suffered a workplace injury at a fracking work site, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.