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Fatal accident may have been caused by unsafe working conditions

A West Virginia man was recently killed in a fatal accident involving a gas explosion. It is not yet clear what caused the accident, but an investigation is ongoing to determine if unsafe working conditions or lack of training contributed to the fatal accident. In fact, the accident has led to an evaluation of safety standards and rules across the natural gas industry.

In a state where there is a significant amount of mining, such as West Virginia, it is not uncommon to hear about such accidents related to the energy industry. However, a comparison of the two industries could reveal that the natural gas industry could be lacking in proper safety standards. In fact, mine safety standards have been dramatically improved over the years where the natural gas industry has lagged behind in proper safety updates.

Gas drilling is a potentially dangerous job and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) monitors these drilling operations. In addition to the OSHA, the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission all oversee and regulate various aspects of gas drilling and pipelines. With all the different agencies working with gas drilling, it is vital to worker safety that these organizations work and communicate together.

With gas drilling, some of the vital aspects of worker safety include proper training and a way to report violations of safety standards. Without all of the agencies working together or an all-encompassing agency, it may be impossible to enforce or document safety issues. If this gas worker died because of poor industry safety standards or unsafe work conditions, his family could consider legal action for the fatal accident.

Source: heraldstandard.com, Mining has longer history of safety standards than gas drilling, Susy Kelly, Feb. 21, 2014

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