America’s energy workers already faced a tough row to hoe. Many who suffer on-the-job injuries find it frustrating to attempt to receive compensation for damages. Additionally, a changing economy threatens the livelihoods of many.

Now, a Houston charity seeks to help those displaced by injury and other factors. The Houston-based nonprofit Oilfield Helping Hands provides financial assistance to industry employees and others coping with emergencies. The organization offers a hand-up during some families’ darkest hours.

What Is Oilfield Helping Hands?

Oilfield Helping Hands began its mission of providing financial assistance to industry employees and their families coping with unexpected medical expenses, natural disasters and other emergencies in 2003. To date, they have provided more than $4.9 million to workers. They raise funds through donations, corporate memberships and annual fundraising events.

The organization features three chapters. The others operate in Oklahoma and the greater Rocky Mountain region. Their annual events cater to the outdoor set with a variety of fishing and shooting tournaments. They have activities to attract donations from golf and baseball fans, too.

Applicants undergo a submission process, including submitting a recovery plan to gain consideration for assistance. According to Chair Gene Pate, the organization “offers a hand-up, not a handout.” Their mission focuses on returning these workers to financial independence once they weather their present hardships.

Issues Facing Oil and Gas Industry Workers

Numerous issues face oil and gas industry employees. One is the high rate of injuries that occur on-the-job. While many workers have disability coverage through their employers, receiving the funds promptly can prove challenging. If an employee gets by paycheck-to-paycheck, they can face substantial economic hardship until funds arrive.

The industry carries inherent dangers. For example, nearly 25,000 falls and 36 fatalities occur each year as a result of falls in the in the oil, gas and construction industries. This statistic only represents one hazard. Anytime you work with heavy equipment and chemicals, there’s a chance of accidents. Chemical burns and machinery malfunctions lurk everywhere.

Additionally, oil and gas industry workers face a challenging new economy. As the nation and globe move away from fossil fuels and toward renewables, many workers find themselves staring at the unemployment line. While the potential for employment in the renewable sector exists, many require additional training to make the transition.

As we move toward a more sustainable future, charities like Oilfield Helping Hands can play a crucial role in helping displaced workers advance to the next stage in their careers. They can provide grants for retraining that empowers these individuals to move into a new sector.  Furthermore, when people become injured in a fashion that prevents them from returning to their previous post, they can gain new skills to work in a different capacity.

Moving into the Future of Energy Production

As America moves into the energy future, society must take action to ease the transition to renewable energy. Charitable organizations, businesses, government institutions and citizens can help in the following ways:

Stabilize the markets: 

Sudden fluctuations in oil and gas prices have devastating impacts on workers and consumers. While society transitions to electric vehicles and other technologies, they need to keep costs low for those who rely on older tech to get to and from work, for example. They also need to retrain current industry employees to segue into the new renewable sector.

Ensure adequate supplies:

 As power companies transition to renewable power sources, they must take precautions to prevent outages based on inadequate supply. Scientists continue to make advances in solar and wind technology that enable extended storage capacity and transmission rates. For example, advances in nanotechnology promise to make the transmission of energy faster.

Provide incentives: 

For people to embrace sustainability, they need incentives to do so. While the most altruistic feel inspired to change out of concern for the future of the planet, financial incentives can compel others to do the right thing as well.

Protecting America’s Workers

Oil and gas workers face many challenges unique to their industry. With more involvement from charities like Oilfield Helping Hands, plus reasonable and forward-thinking lawmaking, society can help ease these employees and others into a brighter future.

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About Author

Kate Harveston covers social justice and human rights issues. She graduated with a Bachelors in English and minored in Criminal Justice, so she enjoys writing about anything related to the intersections of law, politics and culture. For more of her writing, you can visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

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