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Texas oilfield workers injured in blast

A work trailer explosion at a rural well site critically injured two oilfield workers from East Texas. First responders to the blast reported finding two men, one whose hands had been blown off and another who had lost an arm in the explosion. The men, ages 28 and 27, respectively, were transferred to a hospital and are now recovering.

A third victim was only slightly injured in the explosion, which damaged virtually everything close to the explosion site.

According to the local sheriff, the men were using a perforating gun at the time of the accident. A perforating gun is a tool employing electrical charges to break up underground shale -- an important part of the fracking process.

Officials aren't sure what triggered the explosion. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into the matter.

One of the biggest challenges in responding to the accident was reaching the men injured in the blast. The well site is located near a county line roughly 25 miles driving from the nearest town. The region is currently undergoing an oil boom and is drawing new workers and interests into the area.

After being reached by first responders, the men were transported to a nearby hospital via helicopter. The results of the investigation into the blast could determine who is liable for the error. If unsafe working conditions were present, for example, it's possible the employer could have a personal injury lawsuit on its hands and could face additional regulatory penalties.

Source: KSAT, "Two oilfield workers critically injured in explosion," Jessie Jegollado, Jan. 15, 2013

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