Workers burned, killed in workplace accident involving a heater

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that a recent deadly accident on an Oklahoma natural gas rig was related to an open-flame heater. Three employees were killed in the explosion, and two were seriously injured in the workplace accident. OSHA stated that this accident was completely preventable and was unnecessarily caused by hazardous conditions.

The drilling company allowed the open-flame heater to be used, even though the company knew that it was dangerous to do so. The accident brought seven different violations, including a citation for failing to ensure that all employees were wearing flame-resistant clothing. The company also did not provide the particular type of shower needed in case of an exposure to a corrosive material. 

In addition to failure to provide necessary safety equipment, the drilling company also failed to properly train employees to work with dangerous and hazardous chemicals. When employees are injured because of gross negligence on part of the employer or another third party, it may be appropriate to explore the option for financial recovery from multiple sources. Any Oklahoma individual who is injured at work could be eligible for restitution from workers' compensation insurance.

After a workplace accident, a victim and family could be left with an unmanageable financial burden. Medical bills, lost wages from missed work and required rehabilitation can quickly devastate a family. This is not a burden that should be carried alone, which is why every injured worker or family of someone killed in an accident should fight for rightful recompense. Workers' compensation claims can be complex, but a lawyer can provide a distinct advantage. 

Source:, "OSHA Determines Open-Flame Heater Likely Cause of Coalgate Fire", June 19, 2015

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