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OSHA probe expected to offer insight into oilfield worker deaths

| Mar 4, 2014 | Wrongful Death

The Houston Chronicle has recently focused attention on the rising death toll that is resulting from Texas’ latest petroleum boom. The paper noted in one recent expose that the number of gas workers killed on the job in the state in 2012 reached 65. That’s higher than it’s been in 10 years and is a 50 percent rise over 2011.

Readers may recall the potentially wrongful deaths of two oilfield workers just last week due to electrocution. Details of exactly what happened were unavailable immediately after the tragedy occurred on Feb. 24, and information hasn’t been particularly easy to come by in the week since. That information could be crucial to any efforts to file claims for wrongful death.

The latest word available is that the investigation into the deaths is now in the hands of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency apparently is working in cooperation with the drilling company the two victims worked for.

According to authorities, the men were struck by a fallen live electrical wire. KRIV-TV News, citing comments from a top fire official at the scene, said that the men had been walking around on the ground when they were struck by the wire. Other officials told the Houston Chronicle that a crane had apparently struck the line, bringing it down.

Emergency responders attempted to revive the two men as they were being taken to the hospital, but both were declared dead on arrival.

Questions that might be good to have answered in such a case would include who was operating the crane? Were they employees of the same drilling company that the victims worked for or some other firm? Were all the proper safety precautions required by the law followed?

Answers to all those questions could be essential to being able to assign proper liability.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, “OSHA, Houston drilling company investigating after 2 men electrocuted,” Craig Hlavaty, Feb. 25, 2014

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