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Oil rig accident fatal for Montana man

We've discussed before the risk of injury faced by oil field workers. Now the Grand Forks Herald reports that a young man from Kallispell, Montana, has died as a result of injuries suffered in an oil rig accident.

The 22-year-old was working on a rig in Watford City, North Dakota, when a piece of heavy equipment fell on him. A state medical examiner said that the man suffered serious abdominal and chest injuries. Heart disease was also believed to be a factor.

The news report doesn't indicate whether the young man been previously diagnosed with a heart condition. Paramedics were treating him and preparing to transport him to a hospital in Bismarck when he died. Heller Casing Service Inc. was the man's employer.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration was investigating the accident, and an OSHA report indicates that the man was hit by power tongs that had fallen from the rig. Many Montanans probably know that rig workers use power tongs to guide pipe going into and out of the wells. The equipment can be very dangerous and carries a high risk of injury.

Not only is direct human error a possibility in such accidents; manufacturers may also be to blame. Defective oil rig products and equipment failures cause far too many injuries and deaths. Still, manufacturers and drilling companies have the money and resources to defend against civil claims from injured parties. Oil rig accident victims or their loved ones would do well to consult with a legal advocate with experience in taking on powerful companies.

Source: Grand Forks Herald, "Oil rig accident victim was Montana man," Feb. 5, 2013

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