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The 3 Most Risky Jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry

Working in the oil and gas industry can be a lucrative gig – with many jobs exceeding $100,000. However it can be an extremely demanding and risky job.
Employees on oilrigs can work grueling 12-hour shifts where they face highly combustible materials and the threat of swinging cranes and the hazard of dangerous, heavy equipment. They can also face isolation and loneliness by working on offshore oilrigs for up to 14 days at a time. And if there is a disaster, help is far, far away.
Rigs themselves are dangerous. They can explode and sink due to the use of improper oil and gas extraction techniques. Emergency precautions include watertight life pods that can carry up to ten people and that descend into the water in the event of an emergency. But what if the crew can’t be reached in time?
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the US, about every three days an oil and gas worker was killed on the job in 2012, 2011 and 2010. In 2012 nonfatal accidents increased from a five-year low of 1,400 in 2011 to a five-year high of 2,600.
And the biggest culprit of these deaths? Road accidents. Forty percent of deaths were from transportation accidents where drivers were not wearing seatbelts.
See our list of the 3 most Dangerous and Risky Jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry.
1. Oilfield Driver
Many employees are enticed into oilfield driving due to the longer hours and therefore bigger payoffs. Oil field exceptions from highway rules allow oilfield drivers to work longer hours than drivers in other industries with shifts as long as 20 hours or more. This has led to fatal crashes from drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
Oil and gas workers also crash because their trucks are frequently badly maintained according to the Pennsylvania State Police. For example, data from the Pennsylvania State Police shows that 40% of 2,200 oil and gas industry trucks inspected from 2009 to 2012 were in such poor condition that they had to be taken off the roads.
Oil Rig Driver
2. Derrick Hand
Derrick hands have the responsibility of monitoring the drill pipe as it is being inserted and extracted from the drilling hole and fixing any problems such as equipment jams. Derrick hands are faced with extreme weather conditions, high heights and long hours. If they make a mistake with the equipment they can face injury or death.
Derrick Hand
3. Roustabout
Roustabouts are entry-level workers who need little technical knowledge to carry out strenuous physical labor in extreme conditions such as arctic winters, desert summers and ocean storms. Roustabouts work on the front lines, getting hands-on with dangerous drilling equipment risking serious injury or worse.

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings, cold weather tank coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.