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Fatal Accident Claims A Colorado Man In Oklahoma Drilling Explosion Adding To Its Deadly History

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 12:04 pm    

oklahoma drilling explosion killed a colorado man

Photo via Tulsa’s KOTV/

With as many as 60 workers being killed in Oklahoma while working on oil and gas drilling sites in just a five-year period, this latest incident adds fuel to this industry’s deadly history. The contractor alone Patterson-UTI has had an average of one worker a year has died over the last decade. This most recent incident was the worst in the States history with five workers instantly killed in an incident. More than 16 other workers were injured and one needed to be airlifted to a hospital by helicopter.

Patterson-UTI’s Safety Record According to OSHA

The company involved in running this rig has the worst safety record in the industry according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, they have seen almost $400,000 in fines for safety violations over the last decade. Many of the more than 140 safety violations that they have been charged with were considered serious. According to company officials, however, Patterson-UTI has vigorously worked to improve its operations along with training and implementing safety practices.

Worst Safety Record In Industry History

The company says that they have quite literally invested millions of dollars to raise their level of training as well as providing protective equipment and instilling a culture of safety among its employees. Even if this is a fact, according to data from OSHA this company is one of the country’s worst violators of safety laws in the workplace.

Oklahoma is not the only state where this company has had a slew of on-site deaths occur. According to one report put out by a US Senate committee the company had 13 deaths occur with their employees in accidents on rigs located in the state of Texas. These deaths occurred over the course of only four years. That alone is a horrendous record.

Another report indicated that 20 employees of this company had died over a five-year period between the years 2002 and 2007. When compared to similar businesses, Patterson-UTI had more than four times the death rate. That is a difference that is very difficult to account for.

Both Federal And State Agencies Investigating The Explosion

This terrible explosion happened at a natural gas drilling rig located in Quinton which is approximately 100 miles Southeast of the City of Tulsa. Although it is still under investigation and no final determination as to its cause has been made, there is a preliminary report indicating that there was an uncontrolled release of gas that led to the explosion and broke out into a raging fire. One of the on-site workers attempted to engage a mechanism that would shut down the well but he was unsuccessful at doing so.

Investigators found the bodies of the five workers who were all located in a room commonly called the dog house. It was used as an office for the crew according to authorities. This incident is considered to be the most deadly since the industrial accident that occurred in 2002 in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 workers.

Oil And Gas Companies Are Inherently Careless On Safety

According to attorneys who specialize in catastrophic workplace accidents, work safety takes a second seat to production.  Employees will continue to be at risk of injury and death until safety regulations are enforced.Oil And Gas explosion accidents - Williams Hart lawyer

Inexperienced Workers are Sometimes Blamed For the Accidents

Industry experts say some companies have a difficult time maintaining qualified workers. For this reason, they end up hiring inexperienced workers. This inexperience makes accidents more prevalent.

Often new workers are not only unfamiliar with the safety protocols but also do not understand the common lingo for communicating on the rig. This can lead to fatal mistakes and serious accidents. Companies seriously need to implement substantial training programs that all new workers must complete successfully before working on a rig.

Losing a loved one or suffering a serious injury is devastating. Frequently, people do not want to seek legal help, but just talking with an attorney can help determine if you can get justice and compensation for you or a loved one who has been harmed in a workplace accident or explosion. Let the lawyers at Williams Hart get the justice that you deserve. Call us at (888) 220-0640 for a free consultation.  There is a never a charge unless we win financial awards on your behalf.

Bus-Train Crash Leaves Student Dead in East Texas

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 12:41 pm    

bus-train crash accident in Texas

Photo via KLTV

Last Friday afternoon in East Texas, a thirteen year old student was tragically killed and two people injured after a bus and train collided.

The collision occurred around 4pm at a train crossing in Athens.

Thirteen Year Old Among Killed in the Crash

The teenager killed in the crash was a 13-year-old male according to Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill. One of the injured persons was a 9-year-old girl from a nearby elementary school. She was taken to the nearest Dallas hospital and is listed as stable. She was pinned against the side of the bus after the train was hit leading to her injuries. At the time of the accident, no one else was aboard the bus based on official reports by the school district. The second injured person was the bus driver and he was taken to the hospital with his condition being listed as stable.

At this time, the children’s names have not been released to the public. The bus driver is a 78-year-old male named John Stevens.

Investigations Underway

Athens school district Superintendent Blake Stiles said investigative work was being conducted to better understand the cause of the crash and what could have been done to prevent it.

Train Crossing Doesn’t Have a Warning Light, According to Preliminary Investigation

Preliminary findings note the train crossing does not have a set of warning lights and/or wooden gate arms to help signal the presence of a train. However, there are signs around the area along with a camera.

The school district also released a statement on behalf of the school. They wished to express their sorrow for what transpired and how it has impacted the students and their loved ones. They also stated what actions were taken to transport the injured student to the local children’s hospital in Dallas and said she was from nearby Central Athens Elementary.

The Independent School District canceled all of its athletic events to show respect to the families.

Initial findings also come from in-depth investigative work on the accident and how it took place. Pictures revealed the impact occurred in the middle of the bus as it was going past the train crossing in Athens. The bus was carried a substantial distance upon impact before the train could fully stop. According to professionals, the measured distance was approximately 0.25 miles before the freight train eventually managed to stop. Emergency services were quick to act by reaching the crossing in minutes and removing the injured persons for further treatment. Student killed in school bus train crash in Athen TX

Photo via KLTV

Bus Unable to Cross in Time

Based on witness reports, initial findings also uncovered the actions of the bus driver at the time of the accident. It appeared the bus driver waited as required by state law, however, was unable to get across in time as the train came through. With no warning lights/arms to help alleviate this collision, the bus was unable to get across before the train came through at full speed.

Union Pacific Railroad Will Help with the Investigation

Union Pacific Railroad will be assisting with the investigation.  Their report will be used to determine what occurred. The Athens Police Chief offered a detailed explanation of how the investigation would take place and what experts would look into.  According to him, the police would assess the various signal boxes, signage, and review video recorded by a nearby camera to see what happened moments before the accident.

Athens police hope to uncover additional details on the collision.  The Superintendent claimed this was one of the worst days of his career after spending 21 years in the district.

Along with the investigations done around this particular train crossing in Athens, officials will also be monitoring similar train crossings around the area to better understand what’s required to improve public safety. The officials plan to announce information with regards to this research in the coming weeks as more information is made available.

Get Justice for Your Loved One

Williams Hart has been helping victims and families of train accidents for over 30 years.   Contact us if you have any questions or we can help with a loved one injured or killed in a train accident.  There’s never any fee unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.  Get in touch with us today if you have lost a loved one from a train accident in Texas, Call us now at (888) 220-0640.

Enbridge Gas Explosion Causes Fireball in Ohio

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 at 4:25 pm    

Enbridge Gas Pipeline Explosion in Ohio

A fireball damaged properties and homes caused by an Enbridge natural gas pipeline in Ohio, prompting nearby residents to evacuate.

Two Homes Engulfed in Flames

Emergency management director Chasity Schmelzenbach said the explosion occurred on Enbridge’s Texas Eastern pipeline system that destroyed two homes.

According to Schmelzenbach, they received reports of flames shooting up from 80 to 200 feet. “You could see it upwards of 10-15 miles away. Lots of people thought it was in their backyard because it does appear large.”

Fire Had Been Contained and Residents Evacuated

Two people were injured and two properties have been damaged in the fire that happened at 10:40 AM. Residents had been evacuated and the fire contained.

Enbridge’s Response

The Calgary-based natural gas company said that they did an immediate isolation of the section of the pipeline, as well as coordinating with the authorities in regards to the incident.

Enbridge Executive Vice President Bill Yardley released a statement stating that they’re “working closely with local officials to restore the incident site safely.”

Details of the explosion has already been relayed to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and it has sent an investigator to check the scene.

pipeline explosion in Ohio

Photo via Wochit News

Enbridge – Natural Gas Carrier Catering to Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Markets

Enbridge’s Texas Eastern pipeline carries natural gas from Texas and the U.S. Gulf Coast to markets in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

Based in Calgary, Canada the company is the largest natural gas provider in the country with customers in Quebec, New York State, and New Brunswick.

They also operate the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system and are focused in the gathering, transportation, processing and storage of natural gas. Enbridge also has an increasing involvement in power transmission.

The Aftermath

It’s not yet clear if the shut-in done by Enbridge would affect clients in some densely populated locations.

A Similar Incident from British Columbia

Another fire incident on an Enbridge gas pipeline in northern British Columbia late last year resulted in numerous refineries in Washington state to temporarily shut down.

Contact Our Explosion Accident Lawyers

The lawyers at Williams Hart have been helping injured victims and their families since 1983. Our experience and resources have helped families obtain justice for their loved ones who have been injured or killed in explosion accidents.

If you have lost a loved to a workplace explosion, call us at (888) 220-0640 for a free consultation.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

Contact us today at (888) 220-0640 to get a free, confidential case evaluation.