Jeff was a Victim of Bad Equipment Design and Bad Rig Management
Jeff* was working as a floor hand on a drilling rig when a 3,200 pound segment of top-drive guide track collapsed, killing him. We sued the drilling company on behalf of Jeff’s widow and young son. Our evidence showed the company knew the guide tracks segments were prone to coming apart and collapsing because the same accident had occurred on another rig six months earlier. Yet the company failed to alert Jeff’s crew of the safety issue, which could have been remedied with a few small changes in assembly instructions. We secured a settlement for Jeff’s widow and son that will benefit them for the foreseeable future.
The last thing Jeff probably saw was the West Texas sky over the top of the drilling rig where he was working as a floor hand. He was killed when a 24-foot long, 3,200-pound segment of a top-drive guide track fell on him after it was hoisted 20 feet in the air by the rig’s draw works.
We presented evidence in court showing Jeff’s death resulted from a design error in the beam. As designed, the form-piece guide track had to be lifted and assembled in precise sequence to avoid this kind of catastrophic failure. Yet the top-drive manufacturer made each piece look alike, didn’t mark the pieces with the correct order, and made the connections so that it was sure to fail when the last piece was picked up out of sequence.
We also presented evidence that Jeff’s employer was grossly negligent – the exact same thing had occurred on another of its drilling rigs six months before. The employer put out a company-wide safety alert, but failed to provide the safety alert of any other warning to the crew on which Jeff worked. Jeff left a widow and a young son who depended on him. Our settlement with the company is now taking care of them, just as Jeff would have wanted.
We presented evidence showing several small changes were available to fix the safety hazard, any one of which will prevent this kind of injury. One small change could have saved Jeff’s life. It will now keep other workers safer.
Oil and Gas Drilling Fatalities Rising
According to a 2014 investigation by the Houston Chronicle, 78 percent of fatal accidents in Texas involved safety violations – meaning, the could conceivably have been prevented with tougher oversight.
Our work representing victims of oil and gas field accidents shows that some companies push employees and contractors to the limit, hire inexperienced workers, and bury OSHA’s safety rules in their bottom drawers. These companies must be held accountable when these actions result in the death or injury of a worker.
We Work Nationwide
We’re familiar with the oil and gas field industry and they’re familiar with us. We’ve been suing them for decades for safety violations and negligent oversight of operations. As the result of these lawsuits, companies have been made accountable to the workers and families they’ve hurt. Many have also adopted changes that make all workers safer. We’re proud to have had a hand in both.
*Name changed to protect client privacy.