Natural gas explosions on the rise in West Virginia.

Natural gas explosions and other accidents in West Virginia at natural gas workplaces are becoming all too common.  Explosions and other dangerous and unsafe activity has only increased as natural gas continues to dominate the north and central West Virginia landscape.  With increased explosions and unsafe activity comes increased injuries and fatalities to workers.  Unfortunately, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSH”) has very limited resources to investigate and monitor natural gas companies in West Virginia.  When accidents occur (and they do frequently in West Virginia), OSHA is quick to move in and issues citations.  For example, in December, 2011, OSHA fined Jay-Bee Oil & Gas, Inc. for 10 repeat, serious workplace safety violations.  OSHA’s West Virginia Charleston branch Director – Prentice Cline – then stated that, “This company’s failure to correct previously cited violations means that it continues to place workers in harm’s way…It is vital that the company address these hazards to protect its employees.”  Similarly, after an oil and gas worker was killed in Tyler County, West Virginia in 2014, OSHA cited an Antero Resources Corp. contractor – Precision Drilling LP – for failing to provide a workplace “free from recognized hazards.”  According to federal data, as the natural gas industry continues to thrive in West Virginia, natural gas industry injuries and fatalities are up.

What does this mean for protecting West Virginians at oil and gas workplace sites?  The oil and gas industry are required to follow state and federal regulations along with industry standards to ensure that workers are safe.  When the oil and gas industry fails to take safety seriously, workers will get hurt and sometimes even killed and the following are just some of the most common types of workplace incidents at these sites:

  • Natural gas fires
  • Natural gas explosions
  • Toxic chemical exposures
  • Pipe explosions from pressure issues
  • Defective and/or improperly maintained equipment
  • Methane gas explosions

When these types of incidents occur and it is a result of the natural gas company failing to take the proper safety steps, the law firm of Preston & Salango will file a lawsuit based on a legal theory known as “deliberate intent” which is when an oil and gas company basically knew of the unsafe conditions that caused the worker to be injured and/or killed and failed to take any measures to protect the workers against those unsafe conditions.  Unfortunately, this is very common in West Virginia as companies take shortcuts and put profits and production over safety.  As OSHA’s Prentice Cline has stated, a company’s failure to correct violations places workers in harm’s way.  In addition to claims against the employer, there also may be other claims known as Third-Party claims that could be filed against other entities/contractors who are working with the employer – as was the case with Precision Drilling above.

To successfully pursue an oil and gas related lawsuit, it will require extensive research and understanding of state and federal oil and gas regulations along with the industry standards. That is why you will need an experienced attorney that handles oil and gas cases.  Preston & Salango has prosecuted cases against oil and gas companies and has recovered millions of dollars for the injured. If you or a loved one has been involved in an oil and gas related injury, give our firm a call for a free consultation to go over the details of your case.

Contact our Oil and Gas Accident Lawyers. Establishing the cause of an oil and gas explosion and/or other issue requires experienced lawyers. Preston & Salango is here to help and get results. We have recovered millions of dollars for the victims of oil and gas explosions.

Please call (304) 342-0512 today for a free consultation. Preston & Salango serves Charleston, Beckley, Clarksburg, Huntington, Morgantown, and all of West Virginia.

Categories: Personal Injury