Oklahoma company faces fines over fatal workplace accident

An Oklahoma drilling company is facing fines after a fire at the facility led to the death of three workers and left two others injured. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is likely that an open-flame heater caused the fatal workplace accident. Eighteen months before the accident, OSHA cited the same company for an incident that also involved an open-flame heater.

Two of the workers who were harmed in the fire died at the scene of the accident. The third victim succumbed to his burns in the hospital 16 days later. Two other workers were taken to the hospital for treatment of their burns. According to a representative from OSHA, the company ignored a hazard to which they had previously been alerted. 

OSHA cited the company for two willful and seven serious violations. The company was also cited for one repeat violation. In addition to using an open-flame heater on the floor, the likely source of the accident, the company failed to ensure that employees were wearing flame-resistant clothing. In total, the company was fined more than $200,000 for the violations and safety infractions.

When blatant safety violations cause a workplace accident, it is critical for injured victims to have a full explanation of their legal rights. Injured employees may have a rightful claim to workers' compensation benefits, and family members of those who have been killed may also have a rightful claim to death benefits. After a work accident, it is wise to seek a complete case evaluation with an attorney knowledgeable in the claims process and workers' rights in Oklahoma.

Source: newsok.com, "OSHA fines state drilling company in three rig hand deaths", Adam Wilmoth, June 18, 2016

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