Settlement Reached in North Dakota Oil Well Death
A no-fault settlement was reached this past Thursday involving the mother of a 21 year old oil well worker and Marathon Oil, the owner of the oil storage tank where the man was found dead. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death was linked to inhalation of petroleum vapors from the uncovered storage tank. The coroner's report added that the man had no history of health problems and drugs or alcohol weren't found in his system at the time of death. An OSHA representative confirmed that no violations of federal safety standards were found during their investigation.
It's sad to see stories like this come across because deaths like this one can be avoided. The oil boom in North Dakota has been a catalyst for the American oil industry and with it a wave of new employees have migrated to the area in search of employment in a down economy. Many of the workers in the oil fields are new to the job and the hazards it poses. One can't help but wonder if the 21 year old man above was one such worker who just simply didn't know the precautions he needed to take.
OSHA's statement that no federal standards were violated shouldn't be the end of the discussion. With the influx of new and inexperienced workers into the North Dakota oil fields, it may be time for both OSHA and the oil industry to rethink their safety standards. What may have been perfectly suitable training for one generation of oil well workers may not be appropriate for the rookie crop that is quickly establishing itself in the industry. It seems likely the victim would have been saved had he been wearing a gas mask. The fact that no federal safety standards were violated in this death is not only surprising but frankly, unacceptable. Unless the oil industry and the federal government take it upon themselves to shore up their safety protocols the only way change will occur is through legal action by injured workers and their families.
If you have been injured on the job and seek compensation through your employer, you need experienced Missouri Workers' Compensation attorneys at your side. The workers compensation attorneys at Meyerkord and Meyerkord, LLC can help you recover the money you deserve. Please contact us at (314) 436-9958 or (800) 391-4318 for more information.
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