Elevators Slip and Release Pipe onto Worker Below A 21 year old male oilfield worker died from injuries suffered when one of the drilling rig elevators unexpectedly disconnected from a length of pipe being lowered onto a pipe trailer during removal from a well for conversion from a pumping well to a submersible well. The oil field worker was operating the drilling rig elevators in a position directly below the pipe when it fell, striking him in the head. The oil field worker was working with his brother in a family-run operation, and was not wearing a hard-hat at the time of the accident. No-one at the scene was trained or proficient in first aid. The drilling rigs elevators that were in use at the time of the accident had released unexpectedly 1½ week prior to that occurrence, while the victim was using them on a similar operation. The victim had not reported the deficiency to his brother, who owned the well service company. The drilling rig elevators “hold” through a balance of springs and pins that maintain pressure against the tube that is within their grip. The parts wear out over time, and these elevators had been in use for some 15 to 20 years. The co-worker notified the nearest ambulance service about 11 miles away from the accident site. The ambulance, Sheriff, and a registered nurse from a health-care facility responded, preparing the victim for transportation to a hospital approximately 40 miles from the accident site. After being stabilized, the victim was sent by air ambulance to a larger hospital over a distance of 136 miles. The oil field worker died in the Emergency Room from severe traumatic brain injury approximately 21 hours after the drilling rig accident occurred. OSHA Report on Drilling Rig Accident According to OSHA this oil rig death could have been prevented. This accident could have been prevented by reporting and repairing or abandoning use of the elevators after they had been seen to have intermittent slippage or uncontrolled release. The victim himself was aware that they did not always hold and held the responsibility for reporting and correcting the problem some time prior to the fatal accident. Additionally, OSHA stated that hard hats should have been worn by the persons working around elevated tubing, and signs should have been posted by the company as reminders of the need for appropriate personal protective gear at the accident site. In conclusion, the operator controls for mechanisms involved in the raising and lowering of tubing from a downhole should be located in a sheltered area where the operator is protected from falling equipment. Fall of elevators, pulleys, tubing, and other items from elevation in drill rigs is somewhat common in drill rig operations and should be considered both hazardous and probable by the persons working under such elevated equipment and the use of wind guy anchors should have been used in the drill operation, particularly in the face of low temperature, high wind conditions that existed at the time of the drill rig accident. Drilling Rig Accident Lawyer If you or a loved one have suffered a serious injury while working in the oil field or on an oil rig or in the oil & gas production or pipeline industry, then you may have a right to file a lawsuit case against the responsible and negligent parties involved. Call now and get your questions answered. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer FREE CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at 1-800-883-9858.
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