Some have called working on an oil rig one of the single most dangerous jobs in the United States. It’s a tough, physical job that not just anyone can do. Injuries happen. Workers have even lost their lives. This is a career path that you have to be committed to, and you need to know that you’re taking on a certain level of risk.

But what is it that makes the job so dangerous? Here are a few factors that play into it:

Workers have long shifts

Many workers end up working for 12 hours every day. That’s just the average. Some may have even longer shifts. This is not like a typical job where you clock out after eight hours and go home.

Workers stay on the rig for weeks

Speaking of going home, workers tend to live on the rig. Some stay on it for a week or two at a time. You don’t get to go home every night. That experience can cause fatigue and burnout, two things that may make accidents more likely.

Workers use heavy equipment

Oil rigs require the use of cranes and other heavy equipment and machinery. There’s no way around this risk. As with factory workers and construction workers, any time these heavy machines come into the picture, there is a chance that workers could get hurt — even when using them properly.

Workers face exposure to combustible materials

Another risk you can’t avoid on an oil rig is that of combustible materials. Fires happen. Explosions happen. While safety systems are in place, workers can get injured or killed in an emergency. Some have even disappeared entirely.

Help is far away

With most jobs, emergency crews can arrive in a matter of minutes. On an oil rig, which can be miles off shore, you can’t just call an ambulance. Even when you find yourself in a best-case scenario, it can take hours for help to show up. That’s a problem when workers suffer burn injuries, amputation injuries, spinal cord injuries and much more.

What should you do after an injury?

If you work on an oil rig, you have to accept the fact that you could get injured. If you have a loved one on a rig, you also need to face this reality. You can’t avoid or prevent all accidents. If something does happen, the key is to make sure you know what legal rights you have to compensation.