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North Dakota Personal Injury Law Blog

Workplace accident in oilfield claims life of 1, limb of another

Oilfield workers in North Dakota and other states often put their lives on the line whenever they are on duty. The hazards of their jobs were once again underscored when a workplace accident claimed the life of one worker and a limb of another. This tragedy occurred recently at a drilling site in another state.

According to a report by the fire chief, oilfield workers were in the process of setting up a tower when a truck that they used in the process tipped over. One worker that was up at the top of the tower and another man who was positioned below at the truck became trapped underneath the heavy vehicle. Co-workers used another truck to lift the vehicle off the two pinned workers.

Fatal oil field job injury chances 3 times national average

Workers in the oil and gas industry in North Dakota and elsewhere will always face high risks, even though the fatality rate in this industry has decreased significantly over recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fatal job injury rate was reduced from seven times the national average in 2005 to three times the national average in 2015. However, vehicle accidents, chemical exposure, fires and explosions will continue to threaten the lives of oil field workers.

Over 30 percent of employee deaths on the oil and gas fields are said to be caused by vehicle accidents. Apparently, transportation of pipes and other drilling equipment, chemicals, fracking sand and water to drill and complete an average oil well involves over 1,000 truck trips. The heavy vehicles often have to travel through residential areas, also threatening the safety of the community.

Truck accidents: Trucker dies in unexplained semi roll-over

Truck drivers in North Dakota have a particular set of rules of the road to which they must comply. Sometimes, unrealistic demands of employers force operators to violate rules -- often resulting in truck accidents with devastating consequences. To meet deadlines, truckers may have to ignore rules about the maximum number of hours they are allowed to drive without rest. This could lead to fatigue and crashes then become inevitable.

Another danger involves overloading of trucks. When the maximum allowed weight is exceeded, or when a load is unbalanced or unsecured, controlling the vehicle may become impossible. If a driver loses control of an overloaded truck, his or her life will be on the line. The same situation can result when the required maintenance of the big rig is neglected.

Auto wreck involving SUV and ATV kills 18-year-old passenger

Anybody whose vehicle breaks down on the side of a North Dakota road may be extremely vulnerable. This was underscored on a recent Saturday when a passenger on an ATV was killed in an auto wreck along a road in Rolette County. The driver of the ATV was injured, but his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

According to a report by the North Dakota Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at approximately 8 p.m. not far from St. John. Reportedly, a rider and passenger of an ATV were on the edge of the road where their vehicle had broken down. Along with them was another man who had come to help them. He had hooked up the broken ATV to his own ATV in order to tow it.

Home moving company owner's leg crushed in workplace accident

Anybody who is involved in the daily moving of objects that weigh thousands of pounds will likely be aware of his or her vulnerability. The son of a 53-year-old house mover in North Dakota says despite his father's awareness of safety and the hazards he faced every day, he suffered a severe injury in a workplace accident on a recent Tuesday. It is not yet certain whether surgical procedures saved this man's leg.

Reportedly, the man was a member of a crew working on a project to divert flood waters in an area south of Fargo. Some homes were being demolished while others were moved. The process involved the moving of massive metal beams, and piling them on top of each other. It was during such a maneuver that the soft soil shifted and caused the beam on top to slide off.

Each oil field worker's own precautions may prevent job injury

Workers in the oil and gas industry in North Dakota and other states face numerous safety hazards. Every employee's best chance at avoiding job injury is by taking extra precautions to ensure personal safety. Struck-by incidents cause some of the most common injuries on oil patches. These occur when a piece of equipment or other object makes forceful contact with a worker. Sling malfunctions, pressurized lines that are not adequately secured and bad connections are typical causes of struck-by accidents in the oilfields.

On-site vehicle accidents are also sources of significant concern because they lead to many serious injuries and even fatalities. The manners in which every employee can protect him or herself include compliance with all guidelines and safety regulations. Driving in excess of allowed limits can cause fatigue-related accidents and so can mobile phone distractions. Cell phone use while driving on the oil patch should be restricted to emergency use.

Mercedes-Benz settles products liability lawsuit

Mercedes-Benz owners in North Dakota who have suffered the consequences of defective and dangerous seat heaters may be interested to know that the manufacturer has settled a class action lawsuit involving approximately 270,000 vehicles. The products liability lawsuit, which was filed in another state, claimed the heating devices could cause fires. Although Mercedes proposed a settlement, the company continues to deny the allegations.

Court documents included reports from several Mercedes owners who had experienced incidents in which smoke came from the seats while the heaters were on. Various levels of burning allegedly occurred in those cases, although no serious injuries were reported. The models include M-Class, R-Class and GL-Class Mercedes-Benz from 2000 through 2007 that have the seat heaters that were originally fitted by the manufacturers.

Workplace accident deemed preventable by OSHA

Employers in all industries in North Dakota are responsible for the health and safety of employees while they are on duty. Sadly, many lives are lost on work sites of business owners who fail to recognize the importance of providing safe work environments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes guidelines for the safe operation of all industries, and compliance can prevent any workplace accident.

The safety agency announced the completion of an investigation into a February incident that claimed the life of a worker on the site of a Fargo business. Reportedly, the workplace accident involved a 41-year-old worker who was trapped between two trucks. OSHA says a coworker backed up a truck without noticing the other man behind the vehicle and pinned him up against another truck.

Workplace accident victim succumbs to injuries 11 days later

A man from northwest North Dakota went to work on July 28, never to return. The 47-year-old man suffered injuries in a workplace accident that ultimately led to his death on Aug. 8. Reportedly, he was a dump truck driver who hauled a load of concrete to a construction site on U.S. Highway 2 on that day in July.

An accident report by the North Dakota State Patrol indicates that the man was traveling at approximately 35 mph in the vicinity of Williston when the loaded truck veered off the roadway. The dump truck rolled over and came to a halt in a ditch. The operator suffered serious injuries, and he was rushed to a local hospital before he was later transferred to a hospital in Minot by helicopter.

Polaris faces products liability claim after off-road crash

When a person in North Dakota suffers a personal injury that results from using a defective or dangerous product, he or she has the right to seek recovery of damages. This was what a man in another state did after he was seriously injured while riding an off-road vehicle that he alleges was defective. The manufacturer of the vehicle, Polaris Industries Inc., along with related entities that include the dealership where it was bought, were listed as defendants in the products liability lawsuit.

The plaintiff claims the vehicle was purchased in 2012 and the manufacturer recalled the vehicle model for potential throttle cable failure in 2014. The complaint shows that the vehicle was taken for repairs to the dealership in Dec. 2016, at which time the throttle cable was allegedly not inspected, nor was it replaced. The same thing allegedly happened in March 2017, when the dealership again did not inspect or replace the faulty part.

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