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Texas oil worker killed as rig collapses

Whether on land or sea, oil workers are exposed to a multitude of dangers every day they go to work. Certain jobs carry risks, but there are steps that can be taken by employers to ensure that workers are as safe as possible.  In the wake of a recent oilfield accident in west Texas, many are probably wondering: Was enough done to prevent the fatal incident?

On a recent morning, law enforcement officials rushed to an oil rig that had partially collapsed. When they arrived, they discovered that one man was killed and another was injured as a portion of the oil rig toppled. Although unconfirmed by authorities, relatives of one of the victims said the derrick -- the upright portion of an oil rig -- fell on the workers.

Immediately after the incident, Texas authorities allowed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to complete the fatal workplace accident investigation. Typically, when a worker dies on the job OSHA is called in to determine what exactly caused the accident. At the conclusion of their inquiry, they will determine if any safety violations were at play and assess fines as necessary.

In addition to determining the cause of the industrial accident, the investigation may also give the victim's survivors an idea of what rights they have. Wrongful death claims can be brought against employers under certain circumstances. A successful suit can reimburse the family for their accident-related expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering.

Of course, a wrongful death suit cannot change the results of an industrial accident. However, it could help families through the healing process. Additionally, holding negligent parties responsible can help ensure that changes are made to prevent future accidents.

Source: CBS 7 News, "Howard County Sheriff Releases the Name of Man Killed in Rig Accident," June 19, 2013

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