Oilfield Worker’s Death Blamed on Fall from Rig

February 1, 2017  |  Serious Accidents

A North Dakota medical examiner recently ruled that an oilfield worker died from abdominal, pelvic and chest injuries suffered in a fall from a workover rig. The fall occurred after an accident that resulted in an explosion caused by ignition of an oil well.

Two Tragedies in Less than a Year

Johnny Stassinos was working on a rig near Watford City, N.D. in June 2016 when the explosion occurred. He died later that day in a nearby hospital.

Stassinos was the second employee of a local well service to suffer a fall within a year. The previous accident occurred on Nov. 23, 2015 when a worker fell while trying to escape from a basket that did not have an adequate escape line. The basket was 27 feet above the ground when a well blowout took place. The worker only had two escape routes – a ladder and a nylon rope. There was a slide pole available, but it was unusable due to a wind tarp being wrapped around the basket.

When the blowout took place, the worker was unable to use the ladder because of the brine and crude oil that had been expelled by the explosion. He tried sliding down the rope but fell 10 feet onto a trailer, suffering multiple fractures and lacerations. OSHA would later determine that the rope was not an adequate means of escape due to the many frays and cuts that were found. The agency issued XTO Energy, the owner of the well site, a hazard alert and fined the well service for what it classified as a “serious violation.”

Oilfield accidents are far too common in our country, injuring or killing thousands of workers each year. In many instances these accidents are the result of negligence committed either by an employer, the manufacturer of a malfunctioning part, or another liable party.

Please contact Baron & Budd as soon as possible if you have either been hurt in an oilfield accident or lost a loved one due to this type of tragedy. Click here to contact us online or call 866-974-0818 to learn more about your potential legal options.

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