As many people in West Virginia know, mining and drilling are dangerous fields of employment. Many safety hazards, however, can be prevented by the corporations that run the fields and the mines. When such employers fail to prevent known hazards and accidents, injuries or deaths ensue, the company should be held accountable for its negligence.
The oil and gas drilling company Helmerich & Payne Inc. is currently under investigation by the federal government after several recent accidents. The first accident took place June 20 when a man was killed at one of the company’s rigs. Days later, on June 25, a crane broke at another one of the company’s wells, resulting in the hospitalizations of two workers.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration can choose to investigate a company at any time, but when three or more serious workplace injuries or a fatality occurs, the company is required to report the incident to OSHA.
This particular company has been investigated by OSHA 53 times within the past three years, leading to 25 citations for violations.
Oil and gas field employers are a high priority for OSHA, because of course when these employers fail to comply with safety regulations the results can be catastrophic.
According to OSHA, between 2003 and 2010 more than 820 gas and oil extraction workers lost their lives due to workplace accidents.
It is critical for employers to be held accountable when they fail to keep workplaces safe. Those who are injured in such accidents, and the families of those who are killed, are eligible to obtain compensation for their losses in many cases. This may include medical or funeral expenses, lost wages, lost source of income, and pain and suffering.
Source: VictoriaAdvocate.com, “Oilfield death prompts federal inspection of drilling company,” Melissa Crowe, July 13, 2013