In the past we've written about the disproportionate risk of fatal workplace accidents faced by oil and gas workers in Texas. According to a recent study, an average 39 oil and gas workers die every year in Texas. That number has remained fairly steady despite accident rates in other industries.
One such incident occurred recently in Culberson County. A 22-year-old man from New Mexico was killed while working on an oil rig about two weeks ago. According to the county sheriff, he was working on a section of metal casing when a pipe released itself from the casing and hit him.
He suffered serious injuries and his coworkers were unable to stop his bleeding before emergency responders arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene. There were some complications when determining what law enforcement agency should respond to the call because the oil rig was so close to the Texas-New Mexico border.
One interesting twist in this case is the man's family has complained that the oil and gas company didn't reach out to inform them of his death or offer their condolences. They say they found out about his death via Facebook.
Losing a loved one in an accident is a tragedy no matter what, but when an employer acts improperly in the face of such an accident it can add considerably to a family's distress. In a workplace injury lawsuit, a judge or jury might consider that when determining punitive damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Source: The Carlsbad Current-Argus, "Carlsbad man dies in oil rig accident in Culberson County, Texas," March 21, 2013