Oil Worker, 24, Killed in Explosion, Fire at Well Site

three workers tending to an oil extraction rig

According to The Dickinson Press, an oil field worker was killed after a treater house fire occurs at a well site in Billings County, North Dakota, on Wednesday afternoon.

Details of Oil Field Accident

The workplace accident occurred at a well site off of South Ash Coulee Road north of Belfield at around 1:45 p.m. local time. Emergency crews responded to a call of a treater house that had caught on fire. Treaters separate oil from water and natural gas after it is extracted.

The treater house was completely engulfed in flames and destroyed, reports The Dickinson Press. Rescue crews arrived and found 24-year-old James Okland in the rubble after putting out the fire. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials say they received a call of an explosion about 15 minutes prior to calls of the treater house fire.

The Dickinson Press reports that the site is operated by Enduro Operating, LLC. The fire and worker’s death is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as the North Dakota fire marshal. Okland’s sister, Nicole, said he always had a smile on and would help anyone the best he could.

On the Job Accident Statistics

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),

  • 4,821 workers died on the job in 2014.
  • On average, more than 92 workers are killed every week, or 13 deaths per day.
  • Worker deaths in America are down on average, from about 39 worker deaths per day in 1970 to 13 a day in 2014.

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