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Oilfield Worker Fatally Crushed By Heater Treater In West Texas

Photo of Benny Agosto

Earlier this week, we talked about a fatal oil rig accident that claimed the life of a 40-year-old West Texas man. Another oil worker has also been fatally injured in a serious oilfield accident in the last week. A 59-year-old was pinned under a large heater tank and received fatal crush injuries in the oil-related accident in Athlon Yard.

Both fatal Big Spring incidents will be investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA). The first incident involved a worker employed by Heartland Drilling of Abilene. The most recent fatal oil-related accident involved a worker employed by Earthco.

The 59-year-old man, Juan Manual Estrada-Duarte, was working on a heater tank with a crew of others when the heater tank rolled on top of him, trapping and crushing him beneath it. The heater tank is used for transporting oil. According to reports, Earthco had the proper rescue equipment on site and crews were able to use an extractor to remove Estrada-Duarte from his position between the two heater treaters, but his injuries were to serious to allow survival. He reportedly had worked for Earthco for more than 20 years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 80 workers were fatally injured in crush accidents in 2011, the most recent year for which related data has been compiled. The BLS classified crush injuries as including fatal struck-by, caught or crush accidents that involved a structural, mechanical or material collapse.

According to OSHA data, the Texas oil and gas industry is the most dangerous field in this state.

Source: ABClocal, "West Texas man dies in second fatal oilfield-related accident in a week," June 22, 2013

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