Colorado Workers’ Compensation for Oil & Mining Accidents
Understand your rights for injury compensation in the oil and mining industries
The oil and mining industries employ roughly 26,000 workers in the state of Colorado. There are also over 46,000 workers in industries and professions that relate to either oil or mining, according to industry experts. These positions include technicians, consultants and engineers.
Even though mining accidents have decreased in recent years, oil and gas accident statistics indicate that workplace injuries are all too common. The effects of these injuries (and even deaths) are too severe to ignore. Getting the help that you need for your case is crucial.
The good news is that Colorado law allows oil workers and miners to receive workers’ compensation benefits, or even wrongful death benefits for families of an injured worker in the event of a fatality on the job. Even though legal recourse won’t change these difficult circumstances, knowing that help is available can offer peace of mind to injured Coloradans and their families.
On-the-job hazards of mining
Accidents are more likely to happen in mining than in many other professions. Although robust safety regulations are designed to help protect miners, the reality is that accidents still happen far too often.
Coal mining, in particular, is one of the most dangerous occupations in Colorado that results in severe illness or injury. One of the most significant hazards of the job is from heavy machinery capable of causing cave-ins or running into workers. In addition, planned explosions might result in unexpected carbon monoxide releases, which can asphyxiate miners.
Another hazard of mining is in the form of heavy lifting. When miners fail to use or have access to the proper equipment, lifting heavy objects can cause an array of injuries. Some of the most serious include back and neck injuries.
Sadly, fatal mining accidents are well-documented in Colorado. Here are just a few examples of the worst Colorado mining accidents:
- The 1917 Hastings Mine explosion in Las Animas County, Colorado killed 121 workers inside the mine due to burning, being crushed by falling rock, and inhaling toxic gases.
- The 1981 explosion at Dutch Creek mine near Redstone, Colorado killed 15 miners.
- A 2013 incident in Ouray killed 2 miners and injured 20 others, and was attributed to an underground chemical release.
Work-related hazards for Colorado oil field workers
Oil field injuries are unfortunately common due to a high-pressure atmosphere and intense job demands. Much of the equipment used in the oil extraction and refining industry is complex and prone to cause serious injury.
To say that oil industry-related injuries are disruptive is an understatement. Some of the hazardous conditions workers in this field might encounter include:
- Burns or sickness from chemical exposure
- Truck accidents
- Oil rig collapse
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Fire or electrocution-related burns
- Slip, trip and falls
The sites where injuries related to the oil and gas industry are most likely to happen include gas drilling sites, industrial plants, refineries and rigs.
Oil industry employees who are most likely to be injured on the job, according to statistics, include:
- Truck drivers
- Tool pushers
- Gas drillers
- Refinery workers
If you’re an employee of an oil or mining company in Colorado, and you get hurt on the job, it’s important to know that you should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
What to do after an oil or mining accident
One thing that many people find frustrating about coal mining accidents and deaths, as well as oil field injuries, is how often they are preventable. Safety regulators and health management officials try to keep accidents from happening by holding companies accountable, but these programs aren’t perfect. Ultimately, it’s up to each employee and company to make safety a priority.
If you are injured on the job, the first steps you should take is to seek medical help and notify your employer. Then, file a workers’ compensation claim.
Almost any serious injury for an oil worker or miner will require unplanned time off work. Being unable to return to work in your current position might be a real concern, as you wonder how you’re going to provide for your family.
Fortunately, workers’ compensation should provide some financial help to assist as you recover. However, navigating the workers’ compensation system can be daunting and frustrating, and benefits may not be immediately paid when due.
Consult a Colorado workers’ compensation attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured on the job, then it’s time to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands all the compensation available under Colorado law. The sooner you get an attorney involved, the sooner you will be on your way to getting the benefits to which you are entitled.