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Oil rig worker falls to death near Los Alamos

The oil and gas industry is notorious for dangerous work conditions. Companies are supposed to properly train workers and take the required steps to ensure a reasonably safe work environment, but the truth is that safety violations throughout California leave many employees injured each year.

Unfortunately, a California worker was killed recently when he fell from an oil rig near Los Alamos. The energy company that employed the man is reportedly based in Texas, and Cal/OSHA is currently investigating the death.

The 36-year-old Bakersfield resident was employed as a floor hand by Key Energy Services Inc. He fell some distance from an oil rig and was declared deceased at the scene.

When a workplace death occurs, Cal/OSHA has a six-month timeframe to complete the investigation, and that is the case here. The agency typically reviews training processes and documents to check for any possible safety violations. Investigators also interview other workers who may have witnessed the accident. Checking for dangerously placed equipment or machinery is also an aspect of these investigations.

Violations of safety requirements usually lead to citations and fines for the offending company, but unfortunately such measures do not guarantee that workers or their families will receive the full amount of workers' compensation. In many cases, the penalties handed down for safety violations seem miniscule compared to the injuries suffered by workers.

Injured parties or their families should be aware of their legal options in these situations. If a third party was responsible for a workplace accident, it may be possible to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to recoup some of the costs resulting from the injury. Having a workers' compensation attorney on your side can also help expedite a claim for benefits or appeal a denial of benefits.

Source: kcoy.com, "Cal/OSHA Investigating Local Oil Rig Worker Death," Keith Carls, Oct. 16, 2013

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