Fracking Injuries: Is OSHA Protecting Marcellus Shale Workers without Site Inspections?

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You don’t have to be a fracking injuries attorney to understand the role the OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – plays in the business world: To help protect workers.

To be clear, OSHA’s mission as an agency is “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”

As part of that task, the agency is responsible for site inspections, but a recent news report indicated that when it comes to Marcellus Shale drilling sites, OSHA inspects less than 3 percent of them.

In a state where there have been high-profile fracking injuries, the article reports:

  • That while there were 9,500 unconventional wells drilled in the Keystone State since 2004, OSHA inspected just 254 of them
  • OSHA’s Pittsburgh office inspected just 37 sites (although thousands of sites are within its jurisdiction)
  • Across the board, some companies/drilling sites were inspected several times; some weren’t inspected in the least
  • The last inspection noted by the story (published in October) of a drilling site was February 2015

What’s the big deal? Fracking injuries are prevalent and serious – sometimes even life-threatening – and studies suggest working in the Marcellus Shale is statistically more dangerous than other types of jobs.

Consider this: There were 648 oil and gas field worker deaths reported from 2003 to 2008 – and that was before the Marcellus Shale boom.

OSHA itself recognizes the myriad hazards associated with drill sites and the fracking process and notes that fracking injuries are caused by:

  • Highway traffic accidents and vehicle collisions
  • Fires and explosions
  • Slips and falls
  • Machine and equipment hazards
  • Confined spaces (fumes, etc.)
  • High-pressure lines
  • Struck-by/caught-in incidents

In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicates that a whopping three in five on-site fatalities from fracking injuries are the result of what it refers to as “struck-by/caught-in” hazards.

It should be noted that OSHA also includes an extensive list of standards that apply to each of these hazard types on its website.

But the question remains: In the state of Pennsylvania, how can the Occupational Safety and Health Administration know that employers in the Marcellus Shale industry are providing their workers with safe conditions when 97 percent of the drilling sites have allegedly not been inspected to ensure compliance?

Fracking injuries can cause significant harm and, in some unfortunate cases, even death. If you or someone you care about has suffered from a fracking injury – regardless of whether the site was inspected by OSHA – call the personal injury and fracking injury attorneys at Pribanic & Pribanic today for a free consultation of your claim at (800) 392-4529.

Here’s the bottom line: Oil and gas companies and their insurance agencies are aggressive when they are defending against injury claims. It is of paramount importance to have an attorney on your side who can stand up to the insurance companies on your behalf.

Our fracking injury attorneys handle personal injury and wrongful death claims that result from oil- and gas-related incidents such as:

Let our experience fracking injuries attorneys help you – call us today.

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