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Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyers > Blog > Oilfield Accident > The Dangers Of Drill Pipe Failure To Oilfield Workers

The Dangers Of Drill Pipe Failure To Oilfield Workers


Well drilling is one of the most dangerous parts of the oil and gas extraction process, requiring special training, proper equipment, and compliance with a host of safety procedures. Unfortunately, even oilfield workers who use the greatest possible care on the job, could end up sustaining serious injuries if there is a drill pipe failure. Although drill pipe failure can have a number of different causes, it can usually be attributed to preventable issues, like the improper storage, transportation, or installation of the pipe itself. It is, however, possible to hold negligent oil drilling companies liable for this type of negligence, so if you or a loved one were hurt while working on an oilfield, you should consider reaching out to an experienced Tulsa oilfield accident lawyer for help.

Types of Drill Pipe Failure

Drill pipe failures generally fall under one of the following four categories:

  • Twist off-related failures, which are usually the result of exceeding the pipe’s maximum shear stress by over-torquing the material. While not as common in vertical drilling, twist off accidents can and do occur in directional and extended reach drilling procedures.
  • Prating, which, like twist off failure, is caused by placing too much tensile stress on the pipe. This condition tends to arise most often when a pipe becomes stuck.
  • Burst and Collapse, which as its name suggests, results in the bursting and total collapse of the pipe, usually due to a combination of problems with the mud weight, a loss of circulation, and an overly high differential pressure.
  • Fatigue is the final category of drill pipe failure and is usually attributed to the creation of micro cracks in the pipe, which are exacerbated by the constant application of stress. Corrosion can also play a role in pipe fatigue, as it can weaken the structure of the material and ultimately, reduce its ability to withstand stress.

Drill pipe failure tends to occur most often while drilling deep wells or in high pressure, high temperature drilling situations. These are by no means, however, the only times that oilfield workers could be injured by drill pipe failure.

Recovering Compensation for Employer Negligence

While oilfield drilling is a complex process, there are steps that well owners and equipment suppliers can take to help prevent drill pipe failures and similar problems. Many drill pipe failure accidents, for instance, can be attributed to the improper selection of materials and equipment. A failure to properly store equipment and conduct safety checks before use can exacerbate these kinds of problems. Failing to store pipes in the proper environment can, for instance, result in corrosion, which in turn can cause failure at unpredictable times.

The injuries sustained in drill pipe failure accidents are often severe. One twist off pipe failure that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, resulted in injuries to three employees, one of whom suffered three skull fractures. These types of injuries are, however, compensable, so if you were hurt in an oilfield accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney for help.

Schedule a Complimentary Consultation

To speak with an experienced Tulsa oilfield accident lawyer about recovering compensation for your own workplace accident, please call Levinson Law, P.C. at 918-492-4433 today.

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