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OSHA hosts oil field safety class to reduce workplace accidents

Oil and gas exploration in Montana has led to the creation of numerous well-paying jobs in recent years. But hand in hand with the job growth has come an increase in oil field accidents. Recently, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration held a class to instruct oil field supervisors about safety risks in the industry.

The class was designed by OSHA's Rocky Mountain Region. OSHA reviewed over 400 job-related tasks in the oil and gas industry and analyzed the safety hazards of each of them in developing the class. OSHA also plans to put together a safety manual that can be consulted in the field by supervisors. The Hazard Recognition and Standards class was presented for the first time in August to 20 supervisors from the industry.

When oil field workers are injured or killed on the job, Montana's workers' compensation system will pay medical expenses and lost wages, as well as benefits for rehabilitation and retraining if necessary. Payments for temporary and permanent disability are also available.

But workers' compensation is not always the only source of recovery when injury or death occurs in the oil fields. If someone other than the victim's employer was at fault in causing the accident, the victim or the victim's family has the right to bring a personal injury claim against that party. Unlike workers' compensation, the damages available in a personal injury claim are not limited by statutory formulas and can include compensation for pain and suffering.

Because crews from several different employers are often working side by side in the oil fields, the possibility of a personal injury claim, separate and apart from the workers' compensation claim, should always be investigated when someone is injured in an oil field accident.

Source: KFYR-TV, "OSHA Training Course," Jennifer Joas, Aug. 21, 2012

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