Those working in the oil and gas industry in Texas and throughout the country need to be aware of the risks related to fires. In 2017, three workers in Colorado were injured when an oilfield pipeline fire broke out. One of the men later died from his injuries. To protect against fire and other burn injuries, workers should be outfitted with proper flame-resistant (FR) clothing. In addition to keeping workers safe, it can offer financial protection for employers.
According to the American Burn Association, an individual could need to spend 54 days in the hospital to recover from burns covering up to 60 percent of his or her body. That could cost a company $780,000 in hospital bills in addition to OSHA fines and other costs related to the accident. As stated in OHSA rule 1910.132, employers are required to be on the lookout for potential hazards and ways to prevent accidents from happening.
The type of clothing a worker should wear depends on the type of fire risks that could occur. Employers should consult NFPA 2112 and 2113 if there is a potential for a flash fire and NFPA 70E if arc-flash fire hazards are present. Doing so can ensure that a worker's protective clothing gives him or her the best chance to avoid a serious burn injury or death if a fire occurs.
Employers should make workplace safety their top priority. However, it may not be possible to avoid all workplace accidents. Individuals who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation or other benefits. An attorney may be able to explain how to apply for these benefits and help someone through the process. Typically, workers are entitled to have their medical bills paid and recover a portion of their wages.