There’s been much discussion and debate here in Pennsylvania regarding the safety and dangers of fracking, the term used to describe the process of making fractures in rock formations to release natural gas as an energy source. Some of those safety concerns came to light this week when the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited natural gas producer J.R. Resources after a worker died from injuries sustained during a flash fire at the company’s gas well site.
According to a press release from OSHA, the accident occurred in August 2012. The worker who was killed was not provided or required to wear flame-resistant clothing, considered a serious violation by OSHA standards.
The company, which operates one well at its Ringgold facility in Jefferson County, received seven serious violations from OSHA including failing to require and provide flame-resistant clothing be worn when working around natural gas; failing to provide fall protection from stairs on brine tanks; and failing to properly label tanks and prevent workers from riding in the bucket of a backhoe. Serious violations are issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employers knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company was also cited for one other-than-serious violation for failing to report the fatality to OSHA within 8 hours, as required by law.
We know the push is on for natural gas drilling here in Pennsylvania. But we need to be sure that procedures are followed and that corners aren’t cut that could result in injury to those working at gas well sites. If you work at a natural gas well site and have been injured on the job, you could have a case. Contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates for a free review of your case.