More Oilfield Workers Killed on the Job in Texas

Two more oilfield workers were killed on the job in Texas last week, both in Howard County and residents of Big Spring. On Thursday, June 20, Juan Manual Estrada-Duarte, 59, died after a large heat treat rolled onto him. Only 24 hours earlier a drilling rig collapse had taken the life of 40-year-old Felipe Saiz. Reports say another man at the drilling site was also transported to an emergency room the same day for unrelated injuries.

How Many Oilfield Workers Killed on the Job?

Last May the San Antonio Express-News published an article asking “How many workers have died in the Eagle Ford Shale?” According to the article, published days after the May 6 death of oilfield contractor James Dean “Jimmy” Burnett, at least 13 workers had lost their lives working in the Eagle Ford Shale. Burnett, 25, died when a pipe fell on him at a BHP Billiton Petroleum construction site in Karnes County, Texas.

The family of Thomas Pena, 70, of Edinburg, knows too well how dangerous oilfield work can be. Pena lost his life on April 1 after an operational accident at Helmerich and Payne Inc. drilling well 399 in Brooks County. According to a Channel 5 News report, the drilling company had been fined numerous times for safety violations dating back to 2008.

The previous month 22-year-old Brian Scott Callicoat of Carlsbad was killed while working on a drilling rig in Culberson County. A steel casing pipe came off a chain and pinned him to the rig, crushing him to death.

These work-related deaths are just a few examples of the many oilfield workers killed on the job in Texas.

The danger of oilfield work is not new. An analysis by the Houston Chronicle of fatal work injuries in Texas from 2007-2011 found that more oil and gas field services and drilling workers were killed on the job than in any other profession in Texas. With the current oilfield boom in Texas comes more work-related deaths.

In the forum, Drilling Ahead, rig workers talk about injury accidents resulting from corners cut. After articles about oilfield workers killed on the job are published online, workers leave comments about the lack of enforcement of safety measures and the unavailability of safety equipment on the job. In the rush to make money, they say, shortcuts are taken and workers die.  One commenter stated that oil rig injury accidents have “nothing to do with the rig and its equipment. It all has to do with the Drilling Company, the oil company, and the rig manager along with the drillers and the crews on each and every rig in the world.”

According to a report by Safety Services, a North American safety provider, 11 oilfield deaths in the South Texas region could have been prevented if companies had followed safety protocols. The report quoted Michael Rivera, area director for OSHA’s Corpus Christi office, who said although a lot of employers “make a real effort” to keep workers safe, others “kind of hurry, maybe take a shortcut. Not to hurt anybody or kill anybody. But time is money, right?”

Lawyers in Texas Help Victims of Oilfield Accidents

If you suffered a serious injury or a loved one has died as the result of an on-the-job injury, contact experienced oilfield injury lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm. Our firm has a proven record of success in obtaining results for oilfield workers, including multimillion-dollar recoveries. We take cases related to oilfield workers killed or injured on the job on a contingency basis. Contact us now for a free case evaluation to find out how we can help you.