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Texas company worksite death leads to OSHA citations

Halcon Resources Corp. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for various safety violations after an employee died at the Texas work site, known as WG Operating. The employee was attempting to restore power to a pumping station when he was electrocuted after coming into contact with live electrical parts. This case has the potential of leading to a wrongful death suit in the near future.

Two of the violations are willful, meaning that they were committed knowingly or with indifference to relevant laws or workers' safety. Halcon's violations involved failure to provide proper safety training to employees and failure to provide the protective equipment necessary to deal with electrical parts.

Halcon was also cited with numerous serious violations, meaning that the employer knew or should have known that the violation would lead to a substantial probability of death. One of these violations include failing to provide specific procedures to ensure that energy sources are locked out prior to maintenance of electrical equipment.

The proposed penalties come to a total of $189,000 and Halcon has 15 business days to comply. The company can also request a conference with an OSHA director or contest the findings within that timeframe.

Occupational exposure to a hazardous situation, such as live electrical components without the proper training or safety equipment, may be the basis of a wrongful death suit in addition to the death benefits available to the worker's immediate family members under the Texas workers' compensation system. Workers' compensation laws are complex, and accepting a benefit through this system may waive a worker's right to pursue further civil legal action.

In any construction site accident, there may be multiple contractors present that may share liability for an injury or death at a worksite. As this area of the law is so complex, it may be beneficial for the late worker's to be advised of their rights in order to pursue justice and obtain the compensation they deserve.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Worksite Death Leads to $189K Fine for Texas O&G Service Company," Oct. 4, 2012

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Brian Jensen

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