Fracking is especially controversial in many areas for various reasons. One of the primary concerns is the immense volume of toxic chemicals that are used in fracking that can potentially leak into the environment and the water table, contaminating the surrounding areas. For workers who are there in the vicinity when fracking takes place, exposure to toxic chemicals at some level is nearly guaranteed. If this exposure causes you injuries or serious health conditions that should have been prevented, talk to a lawyer about suing your employer for the injuries you faced.
Our Pecos, Texas fracking injury and toxic chemical exposure attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm represent injured workers in the oil and natural gas industry and fight to get them and their families the compensation they deserve for serious injuries and illnesses sustained from workplace conditions at fracking sites. For help with your lawsuit, call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797 to schedule a free legal consultation.
Injuries from Fracking and Toxic Exposure
Workers who participate in fracking activities likely understand the process behind fracking: holes are drilled into the ground, then mixtures of chemicals, frac sand, and water are pumped into the holes at high pressure to “fracture” shale and other rocks and minerals that hold pockets of oil or natural gas. Many workers are warned about some of the dangers associated with these activities, but many fracking injuries occur precisely because the workers were not properly warned.
Drilling for oil and gas carries serious risks of injuries from the heavy machinery and tools used in the operations. Operators and bystanders can be injured during catastrophic malfunctions or if any part of their body gets caught in the moving parts or touches overheating machine parts.
More common injuries can occur in drilling simply because of the environment. If you are in hot climates or rocky terrain, you may be at increased risk for dehydration, heat stroke, or falls. If these effects lead to serious injuries, your employer may be responsible for failing to keep the area safe, failing to give you proper breaks and access to water, or for other negligence at the drill site.
Injuries specific to fracking usually come from the processes and materials used in fracking. The water and other chemicals used in fracking are at extremely high pressure throughout the process. If something goes wrong and the pressurized water, sand, and chemicals blowout or burst free, you can face serious injuries. These chemicals are designed to pulverize dirt and stone and can cause catastrophic injuries to the human body. The chemicals themselves can also cause serious injury to humans exposed to them.
Injuries from Toxic Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing
Fracking solutions typically include three elements: water, sand or some other solid substance, and harsh chemicals. Water is not typically dangerous, but after fracking, the water can become contaminated with these chemicals and substances and should not come into contact with your skin or be consumed.
The solid components of fracking fluid usually include frac sand, which is often silica or another similar sand. Silica is finely pulverized quartz crystals. Like any sand, these particles are small pieces of stone and crystal, and, at the microscopic level, they can be incredibly harsh and sharp as broken glass. Contact with silica can lead to itchiness and rashes, especially if it gets in your eyes. Breathing in silica dust or consuming silica can scratch your organs, especially your lungs. Over time of after heavy exposure, this can lead to serious health problems like silicosis. Handling silica requires proper safety gear and training to prevent injury.
The chemicals involved in fracking fluid range greatly in type and can be extremely dangerous. Various acids, such as hydrochloric acid, can burn the skin. Contact with the eyes or face can cause blindness and other catastrophic injuries.
To get the frac sand to move throughout the fluid, other chemicals are used to thicken the water and fracking fluid. Some of these chemicals are harmful to humans in large quantities. Other chemicals are used to control the pH, potentially making the fracking fluid more harmful by making it more acidic or basic. Other chemicals used are known carcinogens – chemicals linked to increased risk of cancer in humans.
Many of these chemicals are disclosed, but various fracking fluid manufacturers and oil and natural gas companies may use secret proprietary blends of chemicals. Your employer may be able to use these chemicals without telling you what they are, potentially putting you at risk if you do not know how to keep yourself safe.
Suing your Employer for Fracking and Toxic Exposure Injuries
If you were injured at work because of a preventable issue or a problem that your employer should have handled better, you may be entitled to sue them for the injuries you faced. Employers are required to follow minimum safety standards under many state and federal regulations. Some of these are general regulations for any employer while others apply specifically to mineral extraction, oil, and natural gas employers.
Many of these rules require proper safety gear and training. If your employer fails to provide you with the skills you need to keep yourself safe, or the gear they supply you with is not enough to protect you from injuries, you might be entitled to sue them for injuries. Talk to a lawyer about your options to proceed with an injury claim.
Call Our Pecos Fracking and Toxic Exposure Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
For a free consultation on your injury case, contact The Queenan Law Firm. Our Pecos fracking injury and toxic chemical exposure attorneys represent injury victims and their families in lawsuits against their employers. For a free legal consultation to discuss your options and learn more about what your case might be worth, call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.