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5 People Missing After Pittsburg County Rig Explosion

Oil workers operating oil drilling equipment

At least five people are missing following a drilling rig explosion in Pittsburg County, officials say.

About the Pittsburg County Oil Rig Explosion

According to the Associated Press, the drilling rig explosion occurred around 9 am Monday at a site just west of Quinton, roughly 100 miles southeast of Tulsa. Aerial footage showed several fires had formed following the initial explosion, sending plumes of smoke bellowing into the air.

Reports suggest 22 people were working on the rig when the explosion occurred; however, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management was unable to confirm any injuries or fatalities.

Officials did reveal that at least five people are unaccounted for.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission confirmed that Red Mountain Energy LLC operated the site, and officials said the rig was drilling for natural gas and oil. Red Mountain Energy LLC was unable to confirm what the rig was drilling for.

What caused the explosion is currently unknown and remains under investigation.

Oil and Gas Extraction Injuries

As America attempts to curb its dependence on foreign oil, more efforts are being made to produce these valuable goods domestically. This means a booming oil and gas industry, one that provides hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. In 2016, 178,500 people worked in the oil and gas extraction industry alone. But these rich resources come at a cost — the business of extraction is a dangerous one, killing and injuring hundreds of workers every year.

Due to the sheer amount of drilling occurring and thousands of workers across the country, oilfield accidents are simply bound to happen. Many of these accidents, however, are the result of negligence. As a worker, oil and gas companies are responsible for following proper safety procedures to keep you safe on the job. Oilfield accidents occur when employers cut corners and put profit before your safety and well being. Oilfield accidents can leave workers with injuries that last them their entire life. These debilitating work injuries include:

Unfortunately, oilfield accidents can cause fatal injuries, too. In 2015, there were 120 deaths in the oil and gas industry. The families of fallen gas and oil workers deserve compensation and justice if their loved one died as a result of a negligent individual or company.


What Types of Oilfield Jobs can Lead to Accidents and Injuries?

Oil drilling is a complex process that requires many different types of workers in order to run smoothly and safely. One thing that each of these oil extraction occupations have in common is the inherent risk of injury due to an accident. Every person that is involved in the process at some point or another could be involved in an oilfield accident. Oilfield jobs are considered one of the more dangerous occupations in the country.

Every drilling site is manned by several crews, each composed of several different types of workers depending on the site and the type of rig.

Roustabouts, floorhands, or roughnecks perform much of the basic, labor-intensive maintenance and drilling tasks. These workers maintain and keep the drilling area clean, remove hazards, and move equipment around the rig for other workers to use. A lot of the grunt work required at an oil rig is taken care of by roustabouts so the other workers can extract oil efficiently.

A motorhand or motorman is responsible for maintaining the engines that power the drilling equipment and other machinery at the drilling site. Oil rigs may have diesel engines, electric engines, or both. These workers also supervise roustabouts, test equipment for safety, operate with the oil rig boilers, assist with the drill pipe, and help other crew members as needed.

Derrickhands, derrickmen or derrick operators guide the uppermost section of the drill as it is lowered and raised from the well bore, known as tripping. These employees are often stationed on a platform high above the ground above the rig in order to head the tripping process. Derrickhands also assist with the mixing and operation of the mud system, helping drillers, and various upkeep on drilling equipment.

A rig operator or driller supervises crew members of an oil rig, specializing in resolving or troubleshooting problems if they arise. They also monitor the work area for safety issues and maintains safety policies. Drillers are tasked with training crew members on safety procedures, conducting drills for blowout prevention, performing equipment maintenance checks, and other personnel-focused management. These oil workers are often assisting with the operation of drill controls and other equipment.

A toolpusher, or oil rig manager, is the supervisor of the oil rig and responsible for all other personnel on site. These managers oversee drillers, derrickhands, motorhands, and roustabouts and provide leadership, important training, and problem solving in regards to employees and oil rig operation. Toolpushers manage the installation of rigs, make sure government and environmental laws are followed, and coordinate the workers in several crews.

Other oilfield occupations include petroleum engineers, pipeline walkers, pipefitters, and pipelayers.

Due to the nature of the job, every worker involved on the oilfield at some point or another could be involved in an incident, depending upon what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Supervisors and even owners of facilities can be seriously injured or lose their life, depending upon who’s on that property, who’s conducting work, and whether it’s being done safely. When drilling operations are being done unsafely and outside the prescribed safety regulations, workers are put at a grave risk of injury or worse.

Common Accidents on the Oilfield

Workers on an oilfield are exposed to a wide variety of hazards. Some common examples of oilfield accidents include:

  • Oil well blowouts
  • Explosions and fires
  • Transportation accidents involving the transport of workers to and from the field
  • Slips and falls due to slick surfaces
  • Struck/caught in machinery or equipment
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals or other materials
  • Defective, faulty, or poorly maintained drilling equipment and machinery

These accidents can cause life-altering and debilitating injuries, including burns, brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord and back injuries, eye injuries. Unfortunately, the oil and gas extraction industry is no stranger to fatal injuries as well — 120 workers were killed on the job in 2015. The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry as a whole had the third largest fatal work injury rate in the United States in 2015.

Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in an oilfield accident, you need an attorney with the experience and legal resources necessary to win your case. Thomas J. Henry has handled many oilfield and oil rig accident cases over the past 25 years. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free case review. We will take immediate action on your case and begin investigating the cause of your injury and that party responsible. You deserve compensation for your serious oilfield injuries. Contact our law offices today.

If I Am an Illegal Alien or a Citizen of a Foreign Country, Can I Pursue an Oilfield Accident Claim

If you are an illegal alien or a citizen of a foreign country and you have been injured or lost a loved one to a Texas oil filed accident, you may still be able to bring litigation against those responsible for the accident.

How Do I File a Lawsuit as a Foreign Citizen?

If you are a citizen of a foreign country and have experienced a personal injury accident or lost a loved one to the negligence of another, your rights to access the courts and make legal claims is not affected by your non-citizenship.

Still, the defense may attempt to use your citizenship against your claim. This can be done in a number of ways such as raising jurisdictional issues, claiming forum non conveniens, or attempting to remove your case to federal court.

This is one of the reasons Thomas J. Henry employs a team of attorneys who are admitted to practice in state and district courts around the nation – to ensure that we can handle your case wherever it may be heard.

Why Would the Defense Want to Remove My Claim to Federal Court?

A motion to remove a case to federal court is a common tactic taken by larger corporations. There are a number of reasons for this, including:

  • Corporate lawyers spend much of their time in federal courts and are more familiar with federal procedures which can be different than state court procedures.
  • They hope your lawyer will not know federal procedures or may lose the “home field” advantage in a state court where they frequently litigate.
  • Federal courts have wider jury pools meaning it is less likely your jury will be composed of members of your community.
  • Federal court is often more costly and less convenient for the plaintiff.
  • The rules of discovery are more cost effective for corporate litigants under federal law.

What If I Am in the U.S. Illegally?

The attorneys at Thomas J. Henry have experience representing illegal aliens in personal injury cases. The important thing to remember is that your status of citizenship is treated as a criminal matter and is a separate issue from your civil injury claim.

Of course, the issue of deportation is something that can arise when filing a personal injury lawsuit and must be considered. However, even if a person is deported to their country of origin, there are still ways that they could legally come back into the country to litigate their case.

Because of the threat of deportation, if you are an illegal alien and have been injured in an accident, your best course of action is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free and confidential consultation.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, San Antonio, Texas, and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, recalled drugs, child injuries, and auto accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact our offices immediately – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.


What are Examples of Oilfield and Oil Rig Accidents?

Oil rig and oilfield-related accidents are very common in Texas. Work sites can be dangerous, and there are innumerous ways in which an accident can occur at an oilfield, refinery or drilling site.

Examples of oilfield and oil rig accidents include:

  • Defective or faulty equipment
  • Equipment malfunctions
  • Explosions
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals or materials
  • Fires
  • Oil rig set up or tear down
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Struck by equipment or objects
  • Transportation accidents (leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in 2015)
  • Walking through zones of danger
  • Well blowout

Many accidents are completely avoidable and are caused by the negligence of an employer or third party. Insufficient safety protocols or failure to follow safety procedures, inadequate training, and negligent hiring and supervision practices can lead to serious accidents and catastrophic injuries.

A third party claim is a claim filed against a party that is not your employer. Outside contractors and equipment manufacturers are examples of third parties that could be liable for an accident.

Receiving Compensation for Your Injuries

Oilfield and oil rig accidents are often severe in nature, causing catastrophic injuries and in some cases death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 120 workers in the oil and gas industry were fatally injured in 2015. Common injuries include burns, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and eye injuries. These types of injuries can require years of care and have a permanent effect on a person’s quality of life. That’s why we seek to recover the maximum amount of compensation available. Recoverable damages in an oilfield or oil rig accident may include:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of past and future earnings
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Past and future medical costs (surgeries, treatments, rehabilitation, prescriptions)
  • Personal or household expenses as a result of your injuries

Importance of Oilfield Expert Witnesses

In order to put injured clients in the best possible position to achieve a positive result in their oilfield accident case, Thomas J. Henry retains a variety of expert witnesses. Experts provide invaluable testimony on subjects related to the case. Our firm has spent years finding the best expert witnesses from across the United States, and each witness undergoes a rigorous examination before participating in a client’s case.

In oilfield and oil rig accident cases, expert witnesses may include:

  • OSHA consultants
  • Engineering experts
  • Occupational and environmental health experts
  • Safety equipment experts
  • Accident reconstructionists
  • Medical professionals (such as doctors, physical therapists, psychologists)

Contact an Oilfield and Oil Rig Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were injured in an oilfield, oil rig, or refinery accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys have experience handling a multitude of cases involving accidents in the oil and gas industry. The nature of the job is dangerous, and when negligent employers or third parties cause an accident and subsequent injury, you deserve to be compensated. Following an oilfield or oil rig accident, hiring an attorney as soon as you can is important.

Our injury attorneys have years of experience determining the mechanism of work injuries and finding out who is responsible for the accident. Call our law offices today for a free legal consultation.

A Loved One Died as a Result of an Oilfield Accident. What Can I Do?

It is no secret that oil and gas extraction is a high-risk industry. According to a recent analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), oil and gas extraction workers are killed on the job at a rate seven times greater than the average U.S. workers.

While we all hope that our loved ones will return from work safe from harm, the unfortunate truth is that workplace accidents, injuries, and deaths do happen – and while nothing can ever remedy the pain of losing a loved one, holding those responsible for the death of a loved one can help provide stability for your family in what is most certainly a turbulent time.

As the Oil Field Grows, So Does the Number of Injuries and Deaths

From 2003 to 2013, the number of active drilling rigs operating in the U.S. increased by an astonishing 71 percent. This industrial boom has resulted in a two-fold increase in the number of workers employed in oil and gas extraction jobs.

Unfortunately, this boom has also resulted in a spike in the number of work-related injuries and worker deaths, with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) confirming 1,189 industry-related deaths over the same ten year period.

According to NIOSH, elevated fatality rates have been most notable among contractors, workers employed by small companies, and workers who are new to the industry. Among the leading causes of death noted by NIOSH were:

  • Transportation-related injuries: 479 deaths
  • Contact injuries: 308 deaths
  • Fires and explosions: 170 deaths
  • Exposure to harmful environments: 105 deaths
  • Falls: 97 deaths
  • Other: 30 deaths.

When Should I Hire and Attorney?

When it comes to oilfield related injuries and deaths, it is best to hire an attorney as soon as possible.

Oilfield injury litigation is extremely complex, and oil and gas extraction jobsites are very hectic when active. Hiring an attorney as soon as an injury or death occurs will help ensure that important material evidence is secured.

Not only will your oilfield injury attorney file a temporary restraining order to preserve evidence, your attorney will also hire industry and Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) experts to investigate the jobsite for any potential safety violations.

Safety violations often include:

  • Poorly maintained equipment
  • Failure to provide adequate fall protection
  • Failure to meet hazard communication standards
  • Failure to provide adequate respiratory protection
  • General transportation safety violations
  • Failure to meet general machinery and machine guard requirements
  • Failure to control hazardous energy

How Can an Expert Witness Help in My Oilfield Lawsuit?

Not only are experts essential in finding and retaining evidence at the scene, they can also provide expert analysis of their findings and expert testimony during trial and arbitration.

Thomas J. Henry has spent years finding and building professional relationships with the best expert witnesses from all across the country. Expert witnesses that could benefit your oilfield lawsuit include:

  • Welding experts
  • Process safety management experts
  • Safety equipment experts
  • Hazardous chemical experts
  • State and Federal OSHA consultants and inspectors
  • Accident reconstruction experts
  • Engineering experts
  • Confined space permit experts
  • Environment health experts

What Damages Can I Recover?

If you have lost a loved one in an oilfield accident caused by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

One option is to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death action, the family is not actually suing for harm caused to their loved one – instead, they are suing for the harm that was caused to them as a result of the loss of the deceased person. Among the damages a family can seek in a wrongful death lawsuit are:

  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of love and emotional support
  • Loss of financial support

A second option is to file a survivor claim. In a survivor action, the family is asserting that:

  • The worker died because of the defendant’s negligence.
  • This negligence caused pain and suffering to the worker before the worker died.
  • Had the worker survived, he or she would have been able to pursue legal action against the defendant to recover compensation for pain and suffering.
  • The defendant should not be able to avoid liability for pain and suffering just because the worker died.
  • The pain and suffering damages should be paid to the deceased worker’s estate.

Contact an Experienced Oilfield Death Attorney?

If you or a loved one suffered from a serious injury while working on an oilfield, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys immediately. Our experienced team of oilfield accident lawyers are backed by the legal and financial resources necessary to take on large oil companies and achieve the compensation you deserve. At Thomas J. Henry, we ensure that our clients are informed throughout the entire legal process while they focus on recovering from their injuries. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

Accident at Ohio Steel Plant Leaves One Dead

A man was killed Monday when he was crushed by a large steel coil at a plant near Cincinnati.

Details of the Steel Workers Death

According to U.S. News, 46-year-old Brian Cupp was killed at SteelSummit in Forest Park, Ohio when he was crushed under a 30,000 pound coil.

SteelSummit primarily provides rolled steel for the automotive, air conditioning, and construction injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an investigation into Cupp’s death, and SteelSummit is cooperating with investigators.

Workplace Accident Statistics

The following information was provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

  • 4,836 workers were killed on the job in 2015. This averages to more than 93 deaths a week or more than 13 deaths every day.
  • 4,379 of those deaths occurred in private industry and 937 were associated with construction.
  • Among the leading causes of work-related deaths are:
    • Falls
    • Struck by object
    • Electrocutions
    • Caught-In/Between

Massive Explosion at Phillips 66 Pipeline Station

Charles Parish and company officials reported a fire at Phillips 66 pipeline station in Southern Louisiana. After the fire, a Phillips 66 employee went missing, and a contract worker was hospitalized.

Details on the Incident

According to a company spokesman the explosion occurred at the Paradis Pipeline Station 30 minutes west of New Orleans. Reuters reports the fire occurred during routine maintenance and the cause of the fire is still unknown, it’s currently under investigation.

The pipeline carries y-grade and a mixture of natural gas liquids such as propane and butane. The pipeline carries the liquids from Venice to Paradis, Louisiana.

According to Phillips 66 the pipeline was blocked in and the gas liquids that were left in the pipeline were burning off. The fire and pressure began to decrease mid-day Friday. St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne states that the fire could have burned for hours or a day.

The Aftermath of the Fire

Charles Parish reported that 60 homes in Paradis and about 1,200 residents of New Orleans evacuated their homes.

The evacuation restrictions ended late Friday morning; residents were asked to present proof of residence to travel on highway 631.

Champagne reported that six workers were present during the explosion.Two were injured and hospitalized and three had minor or no injuries.

3 Dead, 7 Injured in DeRidder Plant Explosion

A plant explosion in DeRidder, Louisiana resulted in three deaths and at least seven injuries Wednesday morning. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the tragic accident.

About the DeRidder Plant Explosion

According to the Beauregard Daily News, the explosion occurred at the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) plant on U.S. 190 around 11 a.m.

Multiple ambulances were called to the scene to transport injured personnel, and at least one victim was airlifted from the scene. State Police HAZMAT and State Fire Marshals also responded to the scene.

The explosion has been linked back to two tanks; however, authorities have not determined what was in those tanks or what caused the tanks to explode.

PCA Has History of Worker Fatalities and Safety Violations

According to KATC, Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) has a history of worker fatalities and serious safety violations.

In 2008, three workers were killed at a PCA plant in Tomahawk, Wisconsin when a tank exploded while workers were welding it. Two more workers were killed at the plant in 2012 after a steam and ash release triggered by fly ash fatally injured them. In 2013, a worker at the plant was severely burned when trying to relight a steam boiler.

A plant in Akron, Ohio was also the subject of OSHA investigations and fines after workers repeatedly suffered amputations and serious injuries. Three violations observed by investigators were marked as repeat hazards.

In 2010, OSHA fined PCA for “willful violations” that occurred at their Milwaukee, Wisconsin plant. These violations were considered to have been “committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.”

All in all, records indicate PCA has been disciplined with fines for at least 154 separate violations over the past decade alone.

Construction Worker, 62, Dies in Oilfield Accident

construction worker in protective gear standing in a trench

According to KCBD, a construction worker sustained fatal injuries on the job at an oilfield in Lamesa, Texas, on Sunday.

About the Oilfield Accident

Danny Smith, 62, had been a worker at Britt Trucking & Construction Company for more than 40 years. The reputable and loyal employee started his day off like any other when the unthinkable happened. Smith was on top of a platform outside of Seminole when he slipped on some oil and fell nearly 25 feet to the ground below.

The worker sustained life-threatening injuries and was hospitalized. One of his coworkers said Smith had not suffered from even a twisted ankle while on the job for more than four decades. Smith would succumb to his injuries a few days later on Sunday night.

The oilfield accident is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

On the Job Accident Statistics

The following information regarding fatal workplace accidents is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • A total of 4,836 people sustained fatal workplace injuries in 2015.
    • This number was the highest total since 2008, when 5,214 people died on the job.
  • 937 workers in the private construction industry suffered fatal work injuries in 2015.
  • 800 people sustained fatal workplace injuries in 2015 due to a fall, slip, or trip.
  • Fatal injuries in the construction and extraction industries rose two percent in 2015.

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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