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Serious workplace accidents in Colorado oil and gas industry

Oil and gas industry workers operate in an environment surrounded by numerous potential hazards. From flammable, explosive substances, to toxic fumes, to slippery surfaces -- not to mention heavy machinery often moving around them -- the risks of a workplace accident can run high.

Right here in Colorado, pipeline fires and explosions have injured and even killed workers in 12 separate instances in the past eight months alone. One was killed and another two injured in a tank explosion; OSHA has taken action against the company and several contractors at that location. A worker at a different site was hurt after fumes caught on fire. Still another was injured by leaking fluids that ignited at a well pad.

With the growth in Colorado's oil and gas industry (production has quadrupled in the last five years), more and more workers are needed to support this production. Rules have been proposed to increase safety around oil and gas pipelines, both for workers and for the population that lives increasingly close to these facilities. Yet concerns remain as to whether more should be done.

Given the risks of a serious workplace injury in these scenarios, Colorado oil and gas workers need to be aware of their rights regarding workers' compensation in the event they are injured on the job. Workers' compensation death benefits may also be available to the family members of a deceased worker. The process can be intimidating, however, not to mention complicated, with appeals of denied applications often necessary. Consultation with a legal professional early in the process can help injured workers obtain the full compensation to which they are entitled.

Source: The Denver Post, "A dozen fires and explosions at Colorado oil and gas facilities in 8 months since fatal blast in Firestone," Bruce Finley, Dec. 7, 2017

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