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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Oil rig defects cause a derrick to partially collapse

The oil and gas industry has a number of wells and drill sites in Montana. With increased risk for environmental damage and injury to those who work on the rig, the operation of oil extraction begs for heightened safety precautions. When oil rig defects exist in the structure of the well, nearby residents, as well as employees, can experience catastrophic injuries or damage to their health. Recently, oil rig defects caused a derrick to partially collapse in an area surrounded by people, potentially causing great risk to their well-being.

Reports indicate that the incident occurred during the day, while a maintenance crew worked routinely on the well of the oil rig. When the derrick began to collapse, the top half bent toward the ground, and rods were yanked out of the ground. The 60-foot steel derrick then came to a rest, leaning at a 45-degree angle. The constructed oil derrick sat in a public and highly populated area, which ultimately caused the surrounding citizens to evacuate. A bystander, or employee, on a Montana well could be seriously injured or even killed by oil rig defects.

Information released stated that crews needed almost six hours to dismantle the dangerous structure after the partial collapse. Some feared that the derrick may hit a home or surrounding power lines, though an oil spill was not a concern. As a welder began the separation of the structure, electricity was cut off from the surrounding area as an added safety precaution. In addition, a hazardous material team was called in to test samples of any flammable gas that may have been leaked. Toxic gases that escape into the surrounding environment from oil rig defects can cause detrimental damage to those that inhale or come into contact with it.

The aftermath of an accident on an oil rig can affect many people at one time. Those who have experienced crush injuries, dismemberment or health-related damages may feel confused and angry that they were not safely and adequately protected from the dangers of an oil well site. When oil rig defects cause a derrick to partially collapse, the victims who suffer may seek legal action in collecting rightful financial restitution for medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Damaged oil derrick removed, evacuations lifted in Huntington Beach, Anthony Clark Carpio, Oct. 15, 2013

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