Fatalities in the energy fields: 2000-2006


NOTE this list is a sidebar to the main story -- "Disposable Workers of the Oil and Gas Fields."


At least 89 people died on the job in the Interior West’s oil and gas industry from 2000 to 2006, in a variety of accidents, including 90-foot falls, massive explosions, poison gas inhalations and crushings by safety harnesses. Some states choose to have the federal government handle worker safety regulation, and some create state agencies to handle it; all the agencies tend to go by the nickname OSHA, after the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Some fines in the cases listed below are not directly related to fatalities; sometimes investigators notice unrelated safety violations when they visit workplaces where workers have died.

This list is almost certainly incomplete, due to loopholes in requirements for reporting fatalities.

The list below includes the victims' names, age at time of death, date of the accident, company(s) involved, a description of the accident, and fines, if any. Names with hotlinks connect to .pdf's of complete OSHA incident reports.




Ricky Erb, 19 -- 11/27/06 -- Schneider Energy Services -- Head injury, blown out of 5-foot hole when a reportedly 40-year-old pipeline Pending ruptured. He and rest of crew were using a cutting tool to open the pipeline, and they didn’t expect it to contain pressurized gas.

Jacob Farmer, 19 -- 11/16/06 -- Leed Energy Services Inc. -- Struck by falling pulley on a well-servicing rig. The victim’s father works in oil and gas. Pending

Phillip Smith, 44 -- 11/6/06 -- Easy Street Crane Service -- Crushed by truck. Pending

Joshua Arvidson, 24 -- 1/25/06 -- Calfrac Well Services Ltd. -- Engulfed by 40,000 pounds of sand in a storage bin. $27,825

Zac Mitchek, 42 -- 11/25/05 -- Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. -- Electrocuted while doing maintenance on a light plant for a drill rig. $11,900

Larry Hill, 42 -- 11/7/05 -- Union Drilling Inc. -- Fell 55 feet from platform on drill-rig derrick while handling hoisted drill pipes. OSHA said the company did not ensure that the worker was using proper fall-protection gear. $19,990

Randall Taylor, 62 -- 8/14/04 -- Wolverine Drilling Inc. -- Crushed by pulley system that collapsed from top of derrick while rig was trying to lift 270,000 pounds of drill pipe from a hole 8,400-feet deep. OSHA issued violations for unrelated problems. $4,560 

Scott Nelson, 26 -- 6/1/04 -- Union Drilling Inc. -- Crushed when the top of a drill rig collapsed. OSHA estimated the rig was built in the 1970s and said a faulty weld failed under the strain of more than 300,000 pounds of drill pipe. $18,225

Stephen Amen, 44 -- 5/13/03 -- D & D Water Service -- Struck when parts broke on a hoisting mast on service truck. $10,795

Raul Barron, 44 -- 4/1/03 -- Kerr McGee Rocky Mt Corp. -- Explosion at oil-and-gas waste storage plant while a crew welded a tank. Three others were hospitalized. $14,000. Also M.J. Welding Inc. $3,900 and Bravo Services Total Inc. $1,500

Marty Vigil, 32 -- 11/18/02 -- Caza Drilling Inc. -- Fell 100 feet from platform on derrick while drill rig was tripping pipe into the hole. OSHA said he did not have his fall-protection gear rigged properly. OSHA imposed fines for unrelated violations. $4,313

Michael Blanchfield, 41 -- 10/2/02 -- Hayes Petroleum -- Crushed by cable that spooled onto a winch on a drill rig while crew tried to use the winch to jar loose an obstruction deep in the hole. $3,936

Rex McCarley, 44 -- 9/17/01 -- Baker Oil & Tool -- Struck in head on a workover rig by a 60-pound valve that came loose and fell 15 feet. He was wearing a hard hat. None

Martin Mireles, 48 -- 7/11/01 -- Key Energy Services, Inc. -- Struck by counterweight on oil well pumping unit. $2,500. Also Merit Energy Co. which leased the well site where Mireles died and hired Key Energy to do the work. $2,250

Dominick Mustache, 48 -- 6/15/01 -- Colorado Refining Co. -- Fell off ladder in refinery. None




Jose E. Figueroa, 18 -- 9/1/06 -- Grant Geophysical Corp. -- Crushed in rollover of an ATV, while servicing seismic equipment exploring for oil and gas. He was driving and overloaded the cargo rack. He was part of a 45-person crew that spoke mostly Spanish, working for a Texas subsidiary of a Canadian company; the OSHA investigator needed an interpreter. $9,450

Kory Dawson, 35 -- 4/13/06 -- Green Oil & Field Service Inc. -- Struck, pinned to the ground and crushed by crank arm of oil-pumping rig while his crew tried to repair a part on the rig. Victim died at the scene, but the company reported it to OSHA a week later. $6,750

Rodger Gonzales, 52 -- 4/28/05 -- Cenex Pipeline LLC -- Struck by pieces of a valve that exploded, while he was using high-pressure water — more than 1,500 psi — to test a pipeline for leaks. OSHA said the company had inadequate gauges to measure the pressure. $19,750

Steve Stensaker, 27 -- 12/28/01 -- Sun Well Service Inc. -- Struck by counterweight on pumping unit, while taking down a rig’s derrick. OSHA said the company had inadequate safety training. $2,000




Armando Fraive, 57 -- 12/22/06 -- Eunice Well Service -- Struck “in the chin with much force” by a pipe while erecting a drilling rig. Pending

Martin Estrada, 23 -- 10/4/06 -- Mayo Mars Casing Pulling Inc. -- Pinned to the ground by an oil well head that popped off the well unexpectedly; the crew was trying to plug the well. Pending

Todd Martin, 43 -- 1/31/06 -- Halliburton Energy -- Struck by a rock that was kicked up by tires on a big truck while he stood in a group of workers at a well site. The 8-pound rock flew 43 feet and hit his head and face. None

Mack Grass, 57 -- 12/12/05 -- Gandy Corp. -- Engulfed in a flash fire as he tried to clean the coils on a truck that heats fluids for removing wax from wells. None

Jose Ramon Hidalgo Gomez, 29 -- 8/31/05 -- Triple P Oilfield Services -- Struck as he opened a valve on a capped well. The well’s pressure — 300 psi — vented too quickly, spinning the pipe into his head, breaking his hard hat. OHSA found unsafe company practices and inadequate training. $6,250

Hank Castillo, 43 -- 6/25/04 -- Drake Well Service -- Fell 75 feet from the crow’s nest atop a well-service rig. The crew was pulling rods from the well and rods accidentally hit the crow’s nest, destroying it and dislodging him. None

Edgar A. Nieto, 19 -- 2/3/04 -- Eunice Well Servicing Co. -- Struck in head twice by a 75-ft section of rod on well-service rig. The rod came loose from its clamp while being hoisted. Investigators noted the rig was manufactured in 1976, victim had nine months on the job, company generally has a good training program. None

Shannon Mascarenas, 23 -- 10/10/03 -- Aztec Drilling -- Snagged by a rotating winch as he did a routine ”walkdown” of a drill rig. The lighting in the winch area was poor, and the winch had no guard on it. It tore his arm off. $1,200

Douglas Allen Florence, 28 -- 9/15/03 -- Aztec Well Servicing Co. -- Burned on a coalbed-methane drill rig in a surge of gas. Apparently, the diesel engine for an electrical generator ignited the gas and flames shot more than 100 feet. $3,000

Noe Rios, 40 -- 11/18/02 -- L & M Drilling Inc. -- Struck in shoulder and chest by massive mechanical tongs on a drill rig. The operator of the tongs had to deal with a faulty control mechanism. None

Daniel H. Pina, 39 -- 10/28/02 -- Banta Oilfield Service Inc. -- Burned while repairing a heater that separates oil from water and gas. He unscrewed a valve without relieving internal tank pressure, and it ignited. Investigators said the company had a good safety program, but should’ve had more training on this procedure. $3,500

Ted Thompson, 46 -- 1/31/02 -- Three Rivers Trucking -- Struck in face and chest by pressure gauge that shot off its mount as he pumped drums of chemicals into a gas well casing. The 165-horsepower pump system didn’t have a pressure-relief valve. $500

Jose Aguirre, 31 -- 10/2/01 -- Tim Snelson Pumping Service -- Crushed by pumpjack at oil well while replacing a part; the brakes slipped and pumpjack cycled down on him. Investigators said company had inadequate training and no chain securing the pumpjack in case brakes slipped. $2,325

Larry Blakley, 43 -- 8/21/01 -- McVay Drilling Co. -- While he mixed a sack of caustic potassium hydroxide at mud tank, the mix reacted violently, severely burning his body. $1,225

John M. Trout, 68 -- 8/1/01 -- Champion Inc. -- Struck on forehead by hatch lid that blew off tanker trailer as he took on a load of ”high-gravity” crude oil. Apparently, he hadn’t opened vents to release the pressure inside the tank. He’d worked 59 hours in five days. None

Jimmy Hicks, 40 -- 5/30/01 -- Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. -- Struck in head by hose that came loose from a cross-member of drill rig. $1,312

Juan Mendoza, 46 -- 4/3/01 -- Lucky Services Inc. -- Crushed by well service rig that tipped over while he was standing on it. None

Ricardo Hernandez, 20 -- 10/31/00 -- Triple P Well Service, Inc. -- Fell. (Investigating agency provided no details, saying files this old are typically destroyed.) None

Kirk Webb, 23 -- 3/30/00 -- Pool Energy Services Co. -- Burned in an explosion while he off-loaded brine from a truck into a 1,000-barrel tank. None




Charles Lindstrom, 57 -- 8/17/06 -- Energy Systems Ind., Inc.-- “Blunt-force trauma” while he worked alone on the repair of a pumping unit. $750

Karl Heller, 31 -- 4/5/06 -- Cyclone Drilling -- Crushed by 3,400-pound tank that his crew was lifting with a 1.5-inch-diameter rope when the rope broke. OSHA noted most of the crew was inexperienced and didn’t know the rope’s load rating; the company didn’t have a procedure for training workers to stay clear of loads. $3,750

Zach Anderson, 20 -- 1/30/06 -- American Casing & Equipment -- Struck by pipe or pipe clamp while standing on a platform 30 feet above rig floor, as pipes got out of control while being spun and screwed together. OSHA noted the victim only had two or three days’ experience in the pipe-handling job. $1,050

Brian Loken, 45 -- 12/13/04 -- Plains Marketing L.P. -- Electrocuted by an underground 7,000-volt power line while his crew tried to repair a pipeline. $3,375

Danny Schroeder, 44 -- 11/29/04 -- Northwest Roustabouts -- Crushed between bucket and frame of skid-steer loader when he engaged the controls while climbing on the loader. OSHA said the crew lacked training and was misusing the loader in a couple of ways. $4,500

Robert Updike, 21 -- 2/9/04 -- Wolverine Drilling -- Struck in head and neck by steel cable; crew was stringing cable to erect a drill rig, a connector broke, and cable snapped back and dropped on him. OSHA said training was inadequate and the connector had been installed improperly. $3,675

Andrew Lambourn, 23 -- 5/1/03 -- Stride Well Service Inc. -- Crushed by a catwalk that fell when a support chain broke. OSHA said the company should’ve inspected the chain and kept workers clear of suspended loads. $7,000




David A. Vickers Jr. (age not provided) -- 6/27/06 -- MarMc Transportation Inc. -- Run over by a forklift while working with a crew moving a drill rig; he was resting in the shade of the forklift, and a truck driver (not the forklift driver) hopped on it and drove forward. The company had just been cited by Wyoming OSHD for inadequate forklift training. $1,800

Shane L. Judd, 41 -- 6/9/06 -- DHS Drilling Company -- Fell 90 feet from top of a rig’s derrick. He hadn’t hooked up his fall-protection device. Investigators noted the crew was pulling long work shifts, drilling in the rain; the ambulance took 45 minutes to reach the remote site. $3,150

Steven Spooner, 44 -- 2/26/05 -- Union Drilling -- Crushed by 1,000-pound steel deck plate that fell off forklift while crew erected a drill rig. Forklift had been left idling and unattended without the brake set. $4,700

Montgomery L. Allee, 40 -- 1/14/05 -- Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. -- Struck in head by cable as crew was erecting drill rig. The cable had gotten snagged, and rig manager told him to try to unsnag it. Investigators noted they were in a hurry, and it was an unsafe order. $7,000

David Gardner, 23 -- 2/4/04 -- Basic Energy -- Struck in the head by descending oil rig elevator; other loud noises on the job prevented him from hearing his co-workers’ shouts of warning. $5,000

Donald E. Cannon, 47 -- 8/26/02 -- Cannon Well Service Inc. -- Blown 112 feet when pipes ruptured at gas well where gas pressure was 1,900 psi, then gas ignited. Investigators blamed faulty pipes but also said he’d parked too close to the well. (Note: family company; his son died in rig accident in 1997.) $1,125

Marcus Adam Liddell, 21 -- 10/10/01 -- Basin Swabbing & Oil Service -- Struck by the 20-pound elevator of a drill rig when it broke loose from top of rig and fell 66 feet onto him. (Note: family company, and his father is a co-owner. He was a college student and it happened two days after his birthday. Some co-workers quit after the accident.) None

Floyd Morganstean, 37 -- 8/23/00 -- FMC Fluid Control Div. -- Struck by piece of a ”frac” head that exploded, while crew was testing whether it would hold 13,000 psi pressure. Investigators noted the crew should’ve had a shield between them and the test. $1,100




Bobby Ray Owens, Jr., 52 -- 11/11/06 -- Associated Pipeline Contractors -- Driving a bulldozer, blading the right-of-way for a new transcontinental gas pipeline, he hit a 36-inch pipeline, went up in a 300-foot fireball that shook the ground and could be seen for miles. Pending

Jerrid Thomas Gardner, 22 -- 10/31/06 -- Hawkeye Well Service -- Entangled in the driveshaft of an oil well pump; his father also works for the company. Pending

Steve Robinson, 35 -- 6/1/06 -- High Desert Services Inc. -- Slipped from a platform and got wedged between two 11-foot-tall water tanks he was heating with a propane-fired service truck, suffered ”thermal injuries” from being ”trapped against a heated metallic surface.” It happened around sunset as he worked alone at a remote gas-well site; his body wasn’t discovered until the next morning. None

Pete Mascarenas, 52 -- 4/27/06 -- Pioneer Drilling Serv., Ltd. -- Struck in head by a forklift blade as he tried to adjust it, and it came loose; his hard hat didn’t help. $5,625

Rodney Leon Caddy, 39 -- 3/31/06 -- Nabors Drilling USA LP -- Struck by 37-inch handle of chain-tong that didn’t release when pipe string suddenly uncoiled as drill-rig crew tried to get the string unstuck from 4,000+ feet underground. They’d put 220,000 pounds of hoisting power on the string and twisted it clockwise and counterclockwise, trying to unstick it. The man running the drilling console wasn’t supposed to be doing that job; he’d just been demoted for mistakes. $8,750

Colton H. Bryant, 25 -- 2/16/06 -- Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. LLC -- Fell from a grated catwalk beneath a drill rig’s main deck, 26 feet into rig cellar. The place where he fell lacked safety railings. $7,031

Doug Shymanski, 47 -- 12/13/05 -- Cyclone Drilling, Inc. -- Struck by steel cable drilling line when fastline sheave (pulley) broke and severed the line, causing line, block, hook and elevators to crash to rig floor. Some in the crew had noticed the pulley looking worn weeks earlier and had reported it to bosses. $16,250

Duncan Dewayne Hughes, 44 -- 10/31/05 -- Grey Wolf Drilling Co. L.P. -- Crushed when his safety lanyard (fall-protection harness attached to his back) got snagged in the rotating kelly/rotary head on a 1,000 horsepower drill rig, and he got pulled tight against it, rotating with it until crew noticed and shut down. He had no previous oilfield experience; it was his 11th day on the job, and first time doing the task. OSHA noted no guard on this rig’s rotary head/catwalk, crew working long hours. $1,112

Dean A. Harris, 48 -- 10/15/05 -- DHS Drilling -- Fell from platform atop drill rig, as crew tripped pipe into hole; rig was tilted, so he had to lean out to grab tops of pipes; he was wearing a safety harness two sizes too big and wrong kind of harness. When he fell, he dropped 15 feet, hung suspended 75 feet above deck. The driller, Troy Mabbit, giving orders on rescue, was his stepson. OSHA found mistakes by many. $8,250

Daniel Franklin ”Danny” Shaules, 37 -- 9/29/05 -- Chapman Contracting -- Crushed by two 2,400-pound, 40-foot pipes while he worked with other men unloading pipes from a truckbed and stacking them on a pipe rack in yard. He had the job for 28 days, but in previous truck-driving jobs he’d handled pipe. $656

Jimmy Joe Huckman Jr., 26 -- 9/5/05 -- Cudd Pressure Control -- Fell 47 feet from a platform — called a ”stabbing basket” — partway up a drill rig’s derrick; he had five years’ experience but didn’t have his fall-protection safety harness hooked up. $2,812

Cain Wells, 31 -- 7/12/05 -- HDR Engineering Inc. -- Crashed while surveying a route for new power line to serve a coalbed methane field; he was driving an ATV in hilly desert, went over a 2-foot dropoff, flipped, suffered head injury. He had 10 weeks on the job; his training consisted of watching a 15-minute video on how to drive ATVs. He had a helmet but was not wearing it that day; it was hot, temps in the 90s. $5,625

Jon Isaac Johnson, 32 -- 6/25/05 -- AJ Electric, his own company (sole proprietor) -- Electrocuted by a 1,450-volt line while working on a coalbed methane well. Wyoming OSHA did not investigate, because it does not cover sole proprietors. No OSHA investigation

Leslie Wallace Sipe, 23 -- 5/25/05 -- Northeast Wyoming Construction, LLC -- Electrocuted as he was stringing new line on a contract for Powder River Energy Corp.; he was an apprentice, not a journeyman, had three years’ experience. He climbed a pole too high, slipped off a crossbar and grabbed a hot wire, 791 amps surging through him. Then he fell to ground. It happened on his 23rd birthday. $3,375

Joseph K. Laster, 26 -- 2/22/05 -- Tyvo LLC -- Snagged by driveshaft of small drill rig running 800-1,000 rpm, both arms severed. A rancher partnered with Tyvo, LLC to get three old water-well drill rigs back into service; this one was built in 1962 and had been out of service for three years, needed a lot of work. OSHA noted the driveshaft had no guard on it, and he’d had little training. $3,375

Phillip Lynn Pepper, 43 -- 12/23/04 -- True Drilling Co. -- Fell 90 feet from drill rig’s crow’s nest, when he leaned too far to grab a hoisted pipe; he wasn’t wearing fall-protection gear. Rig didn’t have a safety lanyard in the crow’s nest. It had broken 13 days earlier. $19,250

Leroy James "Elroy" Fried, 49 -- 8/3/04 -- Cyclone Drilling, Inc. -- Crushed by a beam that collapsed while his crew erected a drill rig. Bolts supporting the beam broke from being overstressed, OSHA said. Fried had 16 days on the job. $1,534

Joshua Duane Riedel, 23 -- 7/24/04 -- Nabors Drilling USA LP -- Crushed by 500-pound pipe-gripping tongs on a drill rig while crew was ”tripping in” — adding pipe to the hole. The driller accidentally engaged the tongs; the control levers and valves were improperly installed. Riedel was a college student working a summer job; he had three weeks on the job. Other crewmembers were also inexperienced. OSHA fined the company — world’s largest drilling company — $625. When Riedel’s parents expressed outrage, OSHA raised the fine to $1,875

James "Jim" Albert Bates, 48 -- 1/5/04 -- Patterson-UTI Drilling -- Struck by a 6-foot pipe on a “mud line” — pumping high-pressure cement into a well casing — that came loose, knocked him from rig deck 35 feet to the ground. He was part of the drill rig crew; a separate Halliburton Energy Services crew was doing the cement job. OSHA noted the Halliburton pump operator had only four weeks’ experience in that job. $2,437. Also 1/6/04 Halliburton Energy Services $1,114

Bennie Singleton, 19 -- 7/18/03 -- Bill’s Hydraulic Specialist Service -- Heart attack probably due to heat stress while installing pipe at a remote oil well on a cloudless 100-degree day; family company, owned by one of his uncles, and he was working with another uncle at the time he fell suddenly ill. $3,375

Debra Lee "Debbie" Zeleny, 41 -- 4/7/03 -- Merit Energy Company -- Blown 54 feet sideways by pipeline rupture. She and co-worker Marsha Iriberry were at remote site opening a valve, trying to free a stuck “pig” — spherical line-reamer propelled by gas pressure. None

Charles Douglas ”Chuck” Mead, 41 -- 12/19/02 -- Merit Energy Company -- Struck in chest by fragments of oilfield compressor that blew up. He was working alone, adding methanol antifreeze to the compressor. OSHA said either he made a mistake, or the equipment was designed poorly, or both. OSHA violations were not necessarily related to the accident. $6,187

Harvey Montoya, 39 -- 8/7/02 -- Central Valley Tongs -- Crushed, then fell 15 feet from a basket that rode in vertical rails up rig derrick. When basket tipped, he fell out and swung on the lanyard, pendulumed into the derrick. OSHA noted: The driller running the controls was isolated in a soundproof control room, and the intercom had been broken for five weeks, so he didn’t hear the crew yelling at him to stop. $10,000. Also Helmerich & Payne International Drilling Co. $4,500

Donny Chapman, 50 -- 1/21/02 -- Benchmark Research & Technologies Inc. -- Froze to death when he fell from top of truck or ladder and hit his head while delivering a truckload of slurry gel in an oilfield service yard; it was 10 degrees, wind blowing 20-30 mph; he was working alone. The footing was slick and there was no system of fall-protection in the unloading area. $2,500

Brad Eugene Loberg, 37 -- 9/15/01 -- Splicer Cable Service And Supply Inc. -- Crushed while he fed steel cable onto a spool on a well-servicing rig; as the cable began to spool and its speed was increased, he turned to face a co-worker, raised his hand and then “disappeared” — his arm got snagged, he got yanked backwards into the spool and wrapped with cable. None

Christopher W. Michael, 51 -- 8/13/01 -- Anschutz Corp. -- Poisoned by H2S gas while working on top of a 20-foot-tall tank at a gas-gathering plant; as he and a co-worker unbolted pipe flanges, the H2S gas leaked out, killing him instantly and knocking the co-worker unconscious. OSHA said Michael and his co-worker atop the tank should’ve been wearing air masks, and they didn’t unbolt the flanges properly. None

Delbert DeWayne Bailey, 43 -- 7/13/01 -- Halliburton Energy Services -- Crushed by two sliding 30-foot pipes; the Halliburton crew was there to pump cement into the well casing, and while dragging their equipment up a ramp on the side of the rig, they dislodged two pipes that were stored on the ramp; the pipes slid down onto the victim. OSHA noted the crew’s actions were common practices in the industry. None

Dick Cloyd Tidwell, 41 -- 6/25/01 -- True Drilling LLC -- Fell 90 feet from the top of a drill rig; he was wearing a safety harness, but, coming back from a 10-minute break, he forgot to attach it to the rig; he leaned out to grab the top end of a pipe being hoisted, slipped off the platform, clung to the horns of the elevator clamp for 90 seconds while co-workers scrambled trying to reach him, then he lost his grip. None

Loren L. Austin, 43 -- 1/30/01 -- TNT Backhoe & Roustabout Service -- Run over by a 1-ton truck; he and another man were coiling plastic pipe at drill rig site, cold winter day. Company policy on such days was to leave the truck idling without setting the emergency brake, so didn’t have to worry about the truck not starting or the brakes freezing. OSHA recommended chocking the truck’s wheels in such situations. $100

Mark Alan Zike, 40 -- 1/20/01 -- True Drilling LLC -- Struck in the head by fragments of a ball valve that exploded under 1,700 psi pressure. The crew was pumping drilling “mud” to seal a well casing and the valve had deformed due to freezing and thawing. OSHA noted the crew was inexperienced, none of them had more than a few months on the job. $625

Terry Metz (age not provided) -- 10/27/00 -- E & J Well Service -- Struck by pipeline “pig,” when it came unstuck from a pipeline just upstream from where he was peering into the receiver barrel (where it was supposed to land). $5,400. Also Wexpro Co. $1,750

Wayne William Franks, 35 -- 3/4/00 -- Cole’s Construction Service Inc. -- Crushed by 680-pound pipes at a coalbed-methane well site as he helped unload the pipes from a truck he was driving. He was standing on pipes stacked on his truck, lost his balance and fell under pipes tumbling off a backhoe. OSHA noted the backhoe driver was inexperienced, and it was unsafe for the truck driver to stand on the pipes during the unloading, but it was also a common practice in the oilfields. None

Edwardo Sanchez, Patrick Martinez (ages not provided) -- 2/14/00 -- Okemah Construction -- Electrocuted as they stacked coalbed methane pipes when 28-foot-long tractor boom hit an overhead power line.

Ronnie Keith Green, 36 -- 12/20/04 -- Arrow Trucking -- Crushed by a 1,230-pound plastic pipe while he unloaded a truckbed of the pipes at a gas pipeline station. None

James Ronald Shaw Jr. (age not provided) -- 8/2/01 -- John Bunning Transfer Co. Inc. -- Fell nine feet from platform, while loading hot, molten sulfur onto a truck; the sulfur was piped from a natural gas plant. OSHA noted there was no guardrail. $1,600

Apr 03, 2007 11:25 AM

I worked as a derrick and floor hand back in 1968 in New Mexico.  Drillers are always under pressure to get in and out of a hole no matter what the cost.

If you complained about safety or work conditions you may find yourself working in a very abusive environment with all the deckhands.  I had been told that some accidents aren't accidents.  I have lived with severe back pain for over 30 years because I ran to get a drink of water and then forced to lift out a 250lb floor clamp.

Drilling is one of the most punishing jobs around but for the money sometimes the only one available.

Larry smith
Larry smith
Feb 25, 2010 08:13 PM
Phillip Pepper was my best friend we worked together for a long time I was the one that got him to come to work fore true drilling and was with him the night he died and the story has been wrong since the day it happened but you know they only put down what they want he did fall from the board but it wasn't because he was not tied off he was true had two piece harnesses and a 9 in collar slipped on the floor and when it sling shotted across the derrick the weight of the collar pulled him out of part of his belt the thing they don't tell you is he steel had on the full harness but the belt that ties off to the board was steel attached to the rope at the back of the board imagine trying to hold a 9 in collar with nothing more than the belt that holds your pants up thats what he was doing he was steel holding on to his pull back rope it swung him out the v door he was laying on the other side of the pipe racks when we got down there he hit the ground at such a speed almost every bone was broken he was dead on impact he had a ear missing the angle line had broken and they would not let us replace it if he would have saved him
Hand tools
Hand tools
Dec 20, 2010 01:37 AM
Thanks for sharing this comprehensive list of different fatalities during certain time duration.I remember watching Banta Oilfield Service news on tv and it was one of the dreadful event of that year.
John from <a href="www.toolguru.co.uk">Power tools</a>
Apr 11, 2007 04:28 PM

Chickenfeed fines for some outrageous safety breaches are a disgrace.  This is a truly sad state of affairs and I thank you for publicising this.  


Disregaurd for safety
James Meinema
James Meinema
Jan 30, 2009 05:32 AM
I have been in the oil and gas industry for 25 years. I have seen all kinds of abhorant and disgaceful conditions. I started as a roughneck in northern Canada and over the years have worked in several countries and in several different environments. I totally agree with the comment that they are chicken feed fines and should be in the millions because there are so many ways to prvent most of these from happening. I changed my career 2 years ago because i was one of those guys that just hated safety men. So I had a fellow ask me one day if I could do better and I said yes. We need a lot more experienced guys in the fields doing this job the crews have a lot more respect for the guys that not only say hey this is wrong but can show them how to safely change it. I also think that the hot doggers need to be shot so it takes ten minutes more or you loose a few feet an hour. Peopple we all need to say this is not acceptable any more.
Apr 13, 2007 04:20 PM

Thank you for discovering and publishing this information on specific oilfield injuries. It puts a very human face on something which would be anonamous atatistics and a list of trivial fines.

Edward C. mangold

Apr 23, 2007 11:18 AM

Thank you for  getting these name's out here for the world to see.  It's so important to recognize these workers who have died on the job. So much so that I have dedicated my life to doing so since the loss of my soul-mate back in 2002.  Should anyone want to be certain their loved one is honored and not forgotten please contact me with the information provided below along with as much information as you wish to share and I would be happy to add a personal tribute to our web site for them. This information can be provided by anyone who wishes to honor the memory of a loved one killed on the job.  Family, Friend's, Loved one's & co-worker's are all welcome. Please note this is a free service provided by other's who share your pain. In an effort to transform tragedy  into change. For the safety of our worker's.                                                                   


Mary Vivenzi
United Support & Memorial
For Workplace Fatalities
web site ~ http://www.usmwf.org
Email ~ KilledOnTheJob@usmwf.org
Ignorance is more intelligent than undeveloped knowledge.

Please Note

Workers Memorial Day is April 28, 2007


Please Note

Workers Memorial Day is April 28, 2007

Jul 09, 2007 03:48 PM

Thanks for this site.  My father was Charles Lindstrom, 57 ND - He was crushed by the counter-weight on an Ajax engine pumping unit.  Nobody can tell us how or how long he was in pain, because he was alone. 

Charles Lindstrom, 57 8/17/06 Energy Systems Ind., Inc.

“Blunt-force trauma” while he worked alone on the repair of a pumping unit. $750

The sudden loss of my father just one year after my return from Iraq was devastating.  Not just another fatality in the oil industry, but an honest husband to a wife of 36 years, a patient, caring and loving father to three and a grandfather to nine.  He shall never know the feeling of being a great grandfather.  His arms would stretch out six feet in diameter whenever we would come to visit...I was never too old for a hug.  He will never take the RV out fishing in the middle of the week with all his grandkids after retirement like he planned.  Who will fire up the grill when the whole family is home for the 4th of July's to come, who will be "Santa's helper" for the ensuing Christmas's(he was the best), to who's rescue will we run to when something is wrong with our vehicle or in our homes (he was a master mechanic and a jack of all trades), and most of all, who will love my mother like he did.  I worry about my mother every minute of the day.  They were inseparable after 36 years of marriage, a roll model couple to their three children and all others close to them who desired successful marriages...she is alone now

Sep 25, 2007 06:10 PM

For anyone interested in saving lives go to www.hobble-clamp.com and look at a pumping unit safety system

Gary McCain

B&G Machine and Welding

Hobble - Clamp


Jan 04, 2008 11:02 AM


Mar 17, 2008 11:35 AM

I,VE been working on drilling rigs for about 17 yrs,I  drilled for 8 yrs.So i know the pressure

driller are under from their toolpusher and company man always yeahing hurry hurry but be safe how can you hurry  plus be safe.So here is for all the drillers in the world screw hurry,just be safe ,god bless each and everyone of you.

deaths in the oil field
carrie ross
carrie ross
Sep 02, 2009 08:11 PM
to those of you who say to the drillers of the rigs "slow down and be safe" maybe you should be talking to the tool pushers and company men who are the ones who are pushing the drillers to "hurry". A death on a rig is not always the driller's fault. My brother is one that was killed on a rig in wyoming in 2006. My father was his driller. This article is nice, but it just lists the name of the company that my brother worked for and the his father also worked for the same company. It does not say that the machineary that he became entangled in was owned by another company and that my brother was assisting the workers of that company set it up because they were not trained properly nor does it state that the safety gard that should have been on the machine and could have prevented his death was not in place. So while i agree that some drillers can be dangerous while trying to hurry I want it known that this was not the case in my brother's death and Hawkeye Well Service was not at fault in this case. This was and is the only injury that I know of Hawkeye ever having, and I should know, one of the owners is married to my cousin. I would like to say that companies found to be at fault in the death of anyone should no longer be allowed to operate and put more people's brothers, fathers, sons and grandsons at risk of loosing their life premautrely. My brother was a wonderful person to all who knew him and because some stupid company did not follow safety regulations (god only knows their stupid excuse for this) he is no longer with us, did not get to meet my youngest son or our sister's youngest daughter!
Apr 29, 2008 07:55 PM

I dont know if this counts but what about when they have to drive 6 hours to get to work. Work 12 hour shifts night then drive 6 hours home.

May 01, 2008 11:23 AM

Great compilation!  The industry does not personalize this message enough.  These are human beings with names, not just fatalities.  I am a certified safety professional with 20 years experience working in the oilfield to try to get the message out and get these hands home to their loved ones.  Unfortunately, I've had to investigate fatalities in an effort to learn and improve safety programs and culture.  That experience changes your life.  This article is of great help to my efforts because it provides support to my training.  The hands need to know how real and tragic these deaths can be.  My hope is that this information will help everyone to realize that it really can happen, they are not bulletproof, and they are not doing the company or themselves any favors by hurrying or cutting corners.  Thanks for the effort that went into this.  I will use it.  --The Safety Man.

Jun 16, 2008 12:18 PM

Thank you for bringing the truth out into the open! If only people could see that this industry is dangerous not only for the environment but also for the workers. If our government would put more interest and money in renewable energy sources instead of how much money is made in the oil and gas fields we wouldn't have to be hearing this kind of thing anymore!  

Jun 25, 2008 11:39 AM

I am a new safety Manager in the oilfield arena, and find it a real challenge to get through to the Supervisors  and hands the importance of Safety.  It appears that there is a Oilfield culture that hates the Safety Man.  I am a retired Police officer, as well as retired from the Army and have had to make notifications to family members that their Loved one will no longer be coming through the front door.  It is a very hard task, and you never take life for granted again after just one of those daunting tasks.

I take my job very serious, but find myself starting to feel defeated..  I would appreciate and help from any other Safety professional out there.  Any Ideas??

Might help
Sep 06, 2008 03:23 AM
 First you must know that you are not defeated. If you get knocked down three times you must be willing to get up four. You have to sell the idea of safety to your rig managers so they see the value in your position. Most hands will follow the lead of there supervisors rather than the lead of a safety rep. Try to show how slowing down enough to think about your next move is always faster than racing from one accident to the next. Tortuise and the hare. Research and show examples of this like Lance Armstrong. He doesn't have to win every stage of the race he just has to do well and be there at the end. You can't win it in one day but you can damm sure lose it in one day.
Need Help
James Meinema
James Meinema
Jan 30, 2009 05:42 AM
That is the first step to your job my friend realise that if you need help ask for it. It is not always easy to do that. I have been in the industry for 25 years and always hated safety men untill about 2 years ago I became one. The first part of your job is the toughest and that is getting them to respect you, us oil workers are a hard headed lot and we tend to ignore people who don't speak our language. So learn the language ask the guys what they think, and don't give up. It is a hard road you are on and you will always see and hear that some one else thinks they know better. But if you are right don't back down not even a little because us oil workers are a little like children that way give us an inch we take a mile.