Workers in the oil & gas industry in Texas have a difficult job, even under the best of circumstances. Under normal conditions, oilfield workers are constantly subjected to incredibly dangerous worksite conditions, including working on high platforms, and being exposed to intense heat or harmful chemicals. Given the inherent risks of the job, cutting corners on such factors as safety, maintenance and oversight can create even greater risks of devastating and life-threatening injuries, or even a death that can tear apart a family. .
A 22-year-old worker for Carthage-based Ritter Construction was killed on the job Sunday in an accident at a pipeline near U.S. Highway 183 north of Hochheim. Kyle Jones, who was from Athens, Texas, died after a pipe wrench that was being used to connect two pipeline joints together spun out of control and struck him in the head.
According to police reports, they arrived right after the incident and determined later that the death appeared to be accidental. Jones was pronounced dead that evening and a toxicology report was ordered. No one else was reported injured in the accident, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating. This will be their second investigation of an accident involving Ritter Construction this year.
Of course, accidents can happen at any workplace, especially at an oil pipeline. And no one knows exactly what happened, and won’t, until OSHA and the police conduct their investigations. But with producers under ever-increasing pressure to extract more and more oil faster and faster, there is a possibility that someone at the site cut corners. For example, some things OSHA should focus on whether there were enough workers in the area, and whether they were instructed to “spot” Jones, to keep him safe? Also, did the company there a safety plan in place at the worksite, as well as a backup plan in case something went wrong? Did everyone at the worksite follow all applicable safety regulations, and were all workers trained properly? If the answer to any or all of these questions is “no,” a negligence case could be made.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident at an Eagle Ford Shale production facility, contact the Texas Oil Pipeline Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm today.