Although the male worker “was not wearing his personal hydrogen sulfide detection device” while inside the pump house, the agency said there was “no evidence that Aghorn management required the use of these devices.”
Midland, TX—Sometimes, they can be. Oil and gas extraction sites can be dangerous places to work when employees are not provided with adequate training or safety gear. They are equally as dangerous when an employer fails to identify issues or hazards that are likely to pose a risk to a workers’ life.
Employees who work at oil and gas extraction sites in Texas depend on their employers to properly prepare them for a job and protect them from some of the common hazards that are known to cause serious injuries and death. Sadly, not all employers take the time to survey these sites before allowing their workers to go in and perform their tasks.
Multiple safety issues found at waterflood station in Texas
An oilfield worker passed away in 2019 after being “overcome by poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas” at a waterflood station in Odessa, TX, according to the Insurance Journal. The source says the “Aghorn Operating waterflood station is used as a part of a process to extract oil from underground reservoirs in West Texas.”
The male worker visited the waterflood station after receiving a notification that the “control system activated an oil level alarm.” While in a pump house located at the waterflood station, the male “failed to isolate the pump from energy sources before performing the work.” However, while the male worker was working near the pump, it “automatically turned on” causing “water containing hydrogen sulfide [to escape] into the pump house.”
The worker was exposed to toxic levels of gas and passed away. After hours passed and he had not returned home, his wife came to check on him. Sadly, the worker’s wife became exposed to the toxic gas’ fumes, and she too suffered fatal injuries.
Safety violations noted
After the unfortunate incident occurred, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) proposed $105,253 in penalties, although the company contested the violations it was accused of committing. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) highlighted the following safety issues it discovered at the waterflood station in Aghorn:
- Although the male worker “was not wearing his personal hydrogen sulfide detection device” while inside the pump house, the agency said there was “no evidence that Aghorn management required the use of these devices.”
- There were no “written Lockout/Tagout policies or procedures” at the waterflood station.
- Deficient site security. The site’s “informal policy” allows the gates to be left unlocked. This allowed the worker’s wife to become exposed to the toxic gas which resulted in her suffering fatal injuries.
After an oilfield accident in Midland, TX, contact Cooper Law for legal advice and help
If an oilfield worker’s life has been upended as a result of a work-related accident, a Midland, TX oilfield injury lawyer at Cooper Law Firm can help them explore where compensation can be recovered from to help them afford medical treatment and get reimbursed for lost wages. Oilfield accidents often result in serious injuries that require ongoing medical care and paid time off for recovery.
Oilfield workers who would like to explore their legal rights after a work accident are invited to contact Cooper Law Firm to discuss this with a qualified Midland, TX oilfield injury attorney.