A Bakersfield man who suffered severe injuries in a 2009 oilfield accident received a $5.7 million settlement. The settlement was approved by Kern County Superior Court Justice Sidney Chapin. A news release said Darrell Wilson, who owned Wilson Industrial Pumps in Bakersfield, was hired by Salinas Energy to “troubleshoot” a wastewater pump in a Monterey County oilfield. Wilson was inspecting the pump, when a pressure surge caused an explosion that propelled a 12-inch section of the valve into his body. The prominent metal in his abdomen knocked him unconscious.
After being airlifted to San Jose Regional Memorial Center, where several surgeries were performed, Wilson suffered a stroke which caused brain damage. Mr. Wilson does not remember the accident and suffers considerable amount of memory loss. According to his attorney, Wilson and his family were relieved when the case was finally over, but the consequences of the accident will always be with them. He is unable to work due to his injuries and brain damage.
Fatalities among oil and gas workers are seven times the national average from other professions making it an extremely hazardous work environment. Even though there is a risk of accidents happening in dangerous work environments, using the proper safety measures and tools can prevent serious accidents. Under the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA recently announced a safety stand-down to promote safety and health practices at oil and gas exploration sites.