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Common Causes of Oil Rig Explosions

Posted on October 4, 2021 in

Oil rig workers in Texas and throughout the United States face significant dangers each day they are on the job. On an oil rig, it is crucial for every task to be conducted properly and for all equipment to work the way it is supposed to. Most catastrophic dangers onboard an oil rig come from fires and explosion risks. Here, we want to discuss some of the most common causes of oil rig explosions.

What Causes Oil Rig Explosions?

When examining the causes of oil rig explosions, we have to understand that workers operate in unique environments in these circumstances. Every little thing that employers and coworkers do matters. A single point of failure, a single mistake, can lead to a deadly explosion incident. Some of the most common causes of oil rig explosions include the following:

Fires on an oil rig

Some of the main OSHA regulations surrounding the oil industry involve fire prevention and suppression. Due to a large amount of oil and flammable materials on oil rigs, fire is always the number one threat to oil rig workers. Oil and any byproducts are extremely flammable, and it will only take a small spark to cause an ignition.

Even a fire that does not cause an immediate explosion is incredibly dangerous. Fires can spread throughout an oil rig and go to areas where combustion could occur. Fires can occur in any number of ways on an oil rig. This includes using welding tools near flammable substances, smoking a cigarette in an unauthorized area, or a spark that comes from the kitchen area.

Equipment failure

Oil rig equipment must be in good working order at all times. Equipment failure can occur in a wide variety of ways, and this can lead to explosion incidents. The reality is that equipment does not become defective overnight. In most cases, equipment failure requires the neglect of multiple parties involved. This includes workers, supervisors, and employers.

However, there are times when the equipment arrives at an oil rig, and it is already defective. This could occur due to negligence on the part of equipment companies or manufacturers. If it is discovered that a defective piece of equipment caused an oil rig explosion, there will need to be an extensive investigation in order to determine liability.


Blowouts refer to the uncontrolled release of oil or gas from the well when the pressure control systems have failed. Oil rig blowouts occur if the oil rig applies too much pressure during the drilling process. This can cause the underground oil pool to erupt. Additionally, when a drill encounters a pressurized zone under the ground, this can lead to the gravity of the drilling mud failing to counteract the pressure, often causing a sudden rush of pressure up the system and onto the rig. After pressurized natural gas or oil is exposed to a less pressurized atmosphere, this can result in various types of devastation on an oil rig.

Oil industry negligence

Every person who works on an oil rig is expected to maintain safety standards set forth by various agencies at both the state and federal levels. Unfortunately, negligence can occur in a variety of ways on an oil rig, and this could lead to devastating incidents. Negligence occurs anytime a person fails to show the appropriate amount of care when performing their duties. This can include negligent employees who incorrectly use equipment, careless employers who fail to properly inspect and maintain equipment or train workers, and even negligent regulators who fail to conduct regular inspections.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an oil rig explosion, you may be entitled to compensation. The oil rig explosion attorneys in Houston at The Doan Law Firm are here to help! Contact us today for a free consultation.