An oil field worker in Duncan, Oklahoma was crushed by a platform at a Stephens County oil well site. Sheriff Wayne McKinney stated that a faulty cable or chain was likely to blame. The incident is going to be under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The victim, Mickey Pruitt, is in the Oklahoma City Hospital. He was reported to have sustained multiple injuries. The platform was estimated to weigh between 500 and 800 pounds.
Texoma citizens are not strangers to oil field explosions and injuries. These devastating and sometimes deadly occurrences are all too common in Texas and Oklahoma. Last October we reported on an oil field explosion in Graham, Texas. A 2010 press release by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics listed Texas and Oklahoma in the top two places for fatal work injuries in the oil and gas extraction industry. A five-year study showed that Oklahoma’s fatal workplace injuries increased by 91 percent in the oil and gas industry. Texas fell behind Oklahoma with a 21 percent increase in fatal workplace injuries.
These alarming numbers may leave many Texoma citizens with unanswered questions. With the recent increase in oil and gas extraction and production, combined with lack of oversight and ineffective penalties, oil field workplaces have become increasingly unsafe. Although there have been many safety advancements in the oil and gas industry in recent decades, we are still seeing dangerous explosions and equipment failures. Unfortunately, states are not providing enough oversight to ensure workplace safety in these oil fields. In addition, lenient penalties may be little more than a slap on the wrist for large gas and oil corporations.
In a related twist to the story, the New York Times recently reported that the deadliest danger for oil field workers is on the road.