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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Montana youths facing risk of injury in oil fields

In today's uncertain economic climate, many high school graduates throughout Montana are choosing not to go to college and instead take to the oil fields for a sure paycheck. While these young people could begin a job with a starting salary of $50,000, the risk of serious oil field injuries is still a reality.

A recent report from CNBC tells the stories of several teenagers who have decided to forgo higher education and work for gas companies instead. One young man, a 19-year-old, reportedly works 15-hour shifts sometimes, monitoring a gas company's pipelines. That is a long time to work in a single day, especially in the high-risk drilling industry, and it is up to employers to ensure that the proper training and safety measures are taken to protect the recent influx of young workers in the oil fields.

Other teenagers wake before dawn and drive long distances to oil fields in remote areas of Montana. These young people, along with older workers, are employed at fracturing wells, where heavy and often damaged machinery stretches two miles into the earth. Oil field workers are responsible for repairing safety devices and preventing the rupture of the wells. Of course, accidents do happen, and human beings pay the price, sometimes with their lives.

When oil rig accidents cause personal injury or death, often the reason for the accident can be attributed to another party's negligence. Maybe workers weren't trained properly, or employers choose to cut corners in an attempt to save time and money, or an oil rig part is defective. Individuals and families who have been negatively impacted by such an accident need to be aware that legal remedies are available.

Source: CNBC, "Pay in Oil Fields, Not College, Is Luring Montana Youth," Jack Healy, Dec. 26, 2012

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