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"Safety is for wussies"

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I can’t tell you how much I admire your “Death in the Energy Fields” project (HCN, 4/2/07). It’s been a long time coming. As I read it, I couldn’t help recalling my days as a young reporter in Sidney, Mont., in the heart of the Williston Basin.

I covered the death of a 34-year-old oilfield services worker who succumbed to hydrogen sulfide gas while cleaning out an oil tank on a tanker truck. OSHA fined his employer $800 for failing to have a mandatory respirator on-hand.

I also remember the fear on an oilfield safety consultant’s face when I quoted him saying the industry’s “macho” attitude against safety precautions was a big part of its problem. He was certain he would lose his job.

Dennis Swibold
> School of Journalism > The University of Montana
> Missoula, Montana<

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