Following the completion of an investigation into a fatal 2014 workplace accident, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that several safety regulations were violated by an Oklahoma drilling company. Three oil rig workers lost their lives in the accident, and two more suffered severe workplace injuries. A fire was apparently sparked by an open flame heater.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that the company allowed the workers to use a heater with an open flame on the rig floor. The agency stated that the same company was cited for similar violations in another incident only 18 months prior to the 2014 workplace accident. OSHA cited this as a willful violation because the company was aware of the life-threatening danger, but it allowed workers to be exposed again.
rrfAnother violation that was classified as willful was the drilling company's failure to provide employees with fire-resistant clothing. OSHA found several more serious violations that threatened the safety of oil rig workers in various ways. One repeat violation was included in the citations, and that was for the company's failure to provide workers with an emergency escape route from the rig platform. A different drilling site of the same company was cited for the same offense in 2013.
Oil rig workers who have suffered workplace injuries may be able to claim benefits under the Oklahoma workers' compensation laws, or in certain circumstances, they may pursue a legal claim under federal law. An experienced attorney who focuses on protecting workers' rights can assess the circumstances and the relevant facts. A lawyer will help decide upon the most appropriate course of action and offer ongoing support in the pursuit of fair compensation for injuries suffered on the job.
Source: swtimes.com, "OSHA Fines Oklahoma Drilling Firm Over Fatal Rig Fire", Adam Wilmoth, June 18, 2015