Oil Industry Drilling Mud and the Hidden Dangers Within

By Prev Info - October 19, 2022

 An experienced team of Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are starting to see a sudden influx of cases involving oil industry workers who were exposed to drilling mud. It is widely used within the oil industry both offshore and onshore in order to flush out any debris from the bore hole and to help keep the drill bit from overheating. But what exactly is causing the problems?

In essence, the answer is asbestos. Between the 1960's and the 1980's asbestos was added to drilling mud because of its heat retardant properties. Pure asbestos fibres were routinely mixed into the drilling mud, and this is where the problems lie. Years later (namely now) the problems of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, which have been lying dormant for years within the people who worked closely with the drilling mud, are suddenly starting to be diagnosed. 

This is because asbestos related diseases can often take decades to manifest. If you or a loved one has developed problems relating to asbestos and you were working with drilling mud, then it is advisable that you contact an experienced team of LA personal injury attorneys who are well versed in dealing with such problems.

Over the years many oilfield workmen may have been constantly exposed to the substance without even knowing it. There are plenty of reports that workers remember using a 50 lb bag of additive that was flaky and white in nature. This got added to the drilling mud. This asbestos was mixed into the mud without any breathing apparatus or safety equipment. What is even more dangerous is that the workers could have unknowingly exposed their children and loved ones to the dangers, because asbestos fibres tend to hang around in clothing.

The fact is that many oil workers have already been diagnosed with asbestos related diseases and more are coming forward. The workers who might be most affected are mud hands, mud engineers, shaker hands, floor hands, drillers and assistant drillers. It is advisable not to suffer in silence, because large compensations can be sought. 

For example in April of 2010 a jury awarded a 71 year old ex oil industry worker Troy Lofton the sum of $15 million after it was proved that he had developed lung mesothelioma after a lifetime of handling bags of product that were, unbeknown to him, 99% asbestos. This was done without any protective clothing or breathing apparatus.

An LA personal injury attorney explains that in some instances taking recourse is very problematic. For example, in many cases a lot of these asbestos producing companies such as the ones who produced the 50lb bags for mixing with the mud in the 1960's have long since folded and this means that it is impossible to bring charges against a company which doesn't exist. Having said that, there may be some type of recourse if that original company had been bought out or taken over by a newer business. The reason for this is that as the newer company, they could still be held accountable for any lawsuits taken out against the old company, even though they clearly had nothing to do with the original business.

Another form of recourse might be through the Jones act. Under this statute it states that maritime workers including offshore oil workers can in fact directly sue their employers for any injuries sustained whilst doing their job. This also covers injuries that may have shown up in later years because of their job. This is completely different to land based employees who do not have this right and would have to file product liability claims against manufacturers who may not now exist.

As you can see, getting the desired result from a work injury claim isn't a straight forward process and a lot of criteria have to be taken into account. However a skilled team of Los Angeles injury attorneys who have a proven track record in dealing with this type of case will have the ability to fight your corner and effectively deliver a compensation package that you and your family deserve.



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