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Recent Deaths Highlight Dangers of Oil Rig and Gas Plant Explosions

Sep 29, 2015

Three recent accidents at oil facilities in Wyoming highlight the risks that oil field workers and other individuals working in the oil and gas industry face on a daily basis. The explosions left three workers dead and five more injured as a result of differing causes. Like other recent incidents in Wyoming and other states throughout the West, these tragic accidents serve as stark reminders of the need for adequate safety protocols in what are widely recognized as some of the most dangerous working environments in America.

Oil and Gas Explosions Lead to Fatalities and Critical Injuries

Deadly Oilfield Explosion in Converse County

An explosion at the Hornbuckle ranch in Converse County killed three workers who were servicing a fuel line to a treatment facility owned by Samson Resources. The blast caused a fire that spread over roughly 10 acres before burning out. The victims worked for two subcontractors of Samson Resources – Wild West Construction and Double-D Welding and Fabrication.

Chesapeake Energy Explosion Injures Two, Requires Evacuation

Another explosion in May of this year led to evacuation of the Chesapeake Energy oil facility north of Douglas, WY, also in Converse. The resulting fire left at least two workers with injuries, one of whom was flown to a hospital for treatment of potentially life-threatening burns. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services has reported that contractors for Susquehanna Services were pumping fluid from containers at the time of the accident. News sources indicate that the incident is still under investigation.

Natural Gas Explosion Northeast of Cheyenne Injures Three

The third explosion, which occurred in August, left three workers injured – including one in critical condition. The blast happened at the Kaiser-Francis Oil Company facility on Laramie County Road 135 northeast of Cheyenne. It appears that the workers may have hit a natural gas line while welding.

Common Health and Safety Risks in the Oil and Gas Industry

Sadly, incidents like these are all too common not only in Wyoming, but in oil fields, refining plants and treatment facilities throughout the West. While many of these types of incidents result from employers putting profits before their workers' safety, even companies with strong safety records can experience serious and fatal accidents. For example, news reports indicate that Samson Resources had not been cited for any safety violations in the years leading up to the fatal explosion in Converse County.

Oil and gas workers face all types of safety and health risks on the job, including:

  • Gas line and oil rig explosions
  • Mining and drilling accidents
  • Co-workers' negligence
  • Truck and railcar accidents
  • Inadequate safety training and equipment

When these and other issues lead to serious or fatal injuries, the consequences can be devastating. Fortunately, while no one can undo what has been done, the law provides workers and their families with opportunities to seek compensation for their losses. Whether through a workers' compensation claim filed against the worker's employer, or a personal injury or wrongful death claim filed against another company, those who have been injured or lost loved ones on the job have options for holding the responsible parties accountable and enforcing their legal rights.

Speak with a Wyoming Oil Rig Accident Lawyer at The Spence Law Firm

If you or a family member has been injured due to a work-related accident in the oil and gas industry, the lawyers at The Spence Law Firm are here to help. We have decades of experience specifically handling these challenging cases and we will fight tirelessly to win the compensation you deserve. To speak with an attorney about your case, schedule an initial consultation today.

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