Benzene, Hydrocarbon Exposure at Production & Flowback Tanks   Recently updated !

A recent study – released in February 2016 – about Benzene, Hydrocarbon Exposure at Production & Flowback Tanks has identified an exposure risk related to the workers in the oil and gas industry that work in and around oil and gas extraction sites.  

The workers at these oil and gas extraction sites that open tank hatches (thief hatches) to gauge or collect fluid samples at these production, flowback and other tanks may be subject to high concentrations of hydrocarbon gases (e.g., benzene, toluene hydrogen sulfide…).  

If a worker is gauging or collecting fluid samples of oil and gas they may be at a high risk of being exposed to benzene or other hydrocarbons while gauging and collecting the oil and gas in the tank.

Over the last five years, NIOSH and OSHA have reported fatalities (death) of workers that were manually gauging or collecting samples at production, flowback and other tanks at oil and gas production/extraction sites.  

An excerpt from the NIOSH and OSHA report includes the following –

“Recent NIOSH and OSHA research showed that workers could be exposed to hydrocarbon gases and vapors when they work on or near production and flowback tanks. This means workers can face significant health and safety risks when they manually gauge or sample tanks [Esswein et al. 2014; Jordan 2015]. These risks are in addition to the risk of exposure to hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a well-recognized chemical exposure hazard for those who work in the oil and gas extraction and production industry [OSHA].

NIOSH and OSHA also identified nine worker fatalities that occurred while workers manually gauged or sampled production tanks from 2010–2014 [NIOSH 2015]. Exposures to hydrocarbon gases and vapors and/or oxygen-deficient atmospheres are believed to be primary or contributory factors to the workers’ deaths [Harrison et al. 2016].

During the 5-year period, NIOSH researchers identified nine fatalities involving these tasks. Three deaths occurred in North Dakota, three in Colorado, one in Texas, one in Oklahoma, and one in Montana.

All fatalities occurred at crude oil production tanks. Four took place during tank gauging, and five happened during fluid sample collection at an open thief hatch by pumpers/ truckers.”

For more on the NIOSH or OSHA report, please follow this link: Hazard Alert – Benzene, Hydrocarbon Exposure at Production & Flowback Tanks

Another recent report – by the Center For Disease Control, “Sudden Deaths Among Oil and Gas Extraction Workers…” also suggests that the deaths may have been caused by hycarbon gas exposure (e.g. benzene…) from gauging or collecting samples from tanks at extraction oil and gas sites.


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If you have suffered a serious injury or have been diagnosed with a serious disease (e.g., bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, aplastic anemia, lupus, blood cancer etc.) from benzene exposure, and need a benzene lawyer to help you file a benzene exposure lawsuit, contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.