Oilfield Worker Seriously Injured in Derrick Collapse in Long Beach, California

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Oilfield Accidents, Personal Injury

There was an oilfield accident in Long Beach, California on February 26, 2024.  According to reports, a worker was injured when an oil derrick he was working on collapsed.  The worker was on top of a work-over unit, 50 feet in the air, when the incident occurred.  The worker was eventually able to be freed and taken to a local hospital.  A second worker also sustained injuries in the incident.

Oil derricks, towering structures essential for the drilling of oil wells, face various risks that may lead to their collapse, posing significant hazards in oilfield operations. One primary reason for such catastrophic failures is the structural integrity of the derrick itself. Over time, the immense stress from the weight of drilling equipment, combined with the forces exerted during the drilling process, can weaken the derrick’s components. This weakening is exacerbated by environmental factors such as corrosion from exposure to harsh weather conditions and the corrosive nature of drilling fluids. Additionally, the vibration caused by drilling and the operational load can lead to fatigue in metal structures, making them more susceptible to cracking and eventual failure. These structural vulnerabilities highlight the importance of regular maintenance and inspection to identify and address signs of wear and tear before they lead to a collapse.

Another critical factor contributing to the risk of oil derrick collapse is human error and procedural failures. The complex nature of drilling operations requires precise coordination and adherence to safety protocols. Mistakes in the assembly of the derrick, improper handling of drilling equipment, or failure to follow established safety procedures can jeopardize the stability of the structure. Furthermore, inadequate training of personnel on the rig can lead to errors in judgment or mishandling of equipment, increasing the risk of an accident. The dynamic and often high-pressure environment of oilfield operations demands rigorous training programs, strict safety standards, and a culture of safety awareness to mitigate the risks associated with oil derrick collapses.

Unfortunately, incidents like this one are becoming regular occurrences for workers.  A worker died from inhalation of fumes in a tank at a site near Wayne, Oklahoma on September 20, 2023.  A worker was impaled by pipe in Wichita County, Texas on November 16, 2023.  There was an explosion at an oil pumping station in Cass County, Michigan on February 4, 2024.

Oil and gas extraction is dangerous work.  Oil rigs can pose significant dangers both to workers and to the general public.  When dangerous work is involved, extra precautions must be taken, or workers can suffer the consequence.  According to the Center for Public Integrity, 1,566 oilfield workers were killed from 2008 through 2017.  Centers for Disease Control statistics indicate that the fatality rate for oil and gas workers is seven times higher than for workers in general in the United States.  The CDC indicates that transportation related incidents remain the highest cause of oilfield worker death.

Those touched by an accident in the oil field should know their legal rights and remedies, and act quickly to preserve them. Our attorneys have extensive experience in cases involving oilfield personal injury and wrongful death, including accidents in the oilfield. The firm has experience in courts across the country and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or as a result of an oilfield accident, or been seriously injured.

The experienced attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an oilfield accident.  Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.