OSHA finds that Texas oilfield deaths were preventable

by Eric Pearson

Federal workplace safety investigations show that at least 11 deaths in Texas’ oilfields could have been prevented if companies followed safety protocols. The San Antonio Express-News recently reported that it used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain details about accident investigations in the Eagle Ford Shale oilfields since 2009 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). OSHA records show safety violations were found in every fatal incident in the last three years.

Jobs in the oil and natural gas fields can bring in big paychecks for those willing to do difficult and dangerous work, but they come with a sometimes fatal price. In fact, one in five deaths investigated by OSHA in South Texas in the past decade has occurred at a gas or oil company. Many additional accidents occurred outside of OSHA’s limited purview; OSHA does not investigate work-related traffic accidents involving oil or gas company workers, which killed 40 oil and gas workers in Texas between 2009 and 2011.

And what is the price paid by the oil and gas companies? A paltry $6100 per death. That is the average fine imposed by OSHA for each fatality.

If you have been seriously injury, or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed, in an oilfield-related accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information about filing a lawsuit and to learn more about your legal rights, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free case evaluation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out a free legal consultation form.