Over the past few years quite a few Montana workers have found good-paying jobs in the oil fields. Unfortunately, the work is hazardous and some workers have paid for those jobs with their lives. Another such tragedy took place recently when a 32-year-old North Dakota man was killed at a drilling site near Killdeer.
The man was working on a drilling rig when he was hit by traveling blocks-the moving parts of the block and tackle system used to raise and lower the derrick. The local Sheriff’s office received notice of the oil field accident shortly before 6:30 a.m. The victim was reported to be trapped under the blocks. He was unconscious but breathing.
When emergency responders arrived at the scene about 25 minutes later, they found the man on a floor structure about 30 feet up on the rig. Employees of the drilling company were performing CPR, but they stopped at about 7 a.m., when the victim was declared dead. An OSHA representative was onsite the next day. Whether OSHA discovered any unsafe working conditions has not been reported. An autopsy was to be performed by the county coroner.
When a Montana oil field worker is killed on the job the surviving family members are entitled to collect workers’ compensation death benefits under state law. The benefits are intended to provide the family some relief from the financial repercussions of the loss of a breadwinner. The family does not need to prove the employer was negligent or at fault in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
Source: Billings Gazette, “32-year-old Minot man dies on oil well drilling site,” Jessica Holdman, March 21, 2014