Oil Rig Accident Highlights Rig Dangers

While trying to get a drilling rig running in Snyder, Texas Brandon Garrett was sliced in half by a motorized spool of steel cable, adding yet another fatality to an already dangerous profession.

Garrett, who worked for Patterson-UTI Energy, was a rig-crew floor hand working on Easter Sunday, helping four other crew members repair a plugged drill bit on a rig about 70 miles northeast of Lubbock in the Texas Panhandle.

A supervisor split the men into two groups performing different procedures to get the rig back in operation more quickly, reports say, Garrett was standing on top of a spool when another crew member accidentally activated it. Garrett was pulled into the machine and the cable cut his torso in half.

The accident was blamed on Garrett having to perform two jobs at the same time and one he was not regularly assigned to do. Reports also say that at least 20 other Patterson-UTI employees have died on the job between 2002 and 2007. No other oil and gas company has had more than five fatal accidents during that span.

In fact, industry reports say that at least 598 workers died on the job between 2002 and 2007, with the number of people laboring in the nation's oil and gas fields soaring as part of a drilling boom that began in 2000-01.

Many of those deaths have happened in Texas, with a dramatic increase in drilling, spurred by record-breaking oil and natural gas prices being one of the main causes. In addition, new workers are often hired to operate all those rigs - many who are inexperienced and speak little English, and because of the brutal hours often use methamphetamines.

Assistance is crucial for the victims - or the victims' families - in wrongful death cases. The Doan Law Firm, P.C., led by Houston personal injury attorney Jimmy Doan, has extensive experience in worker's compensation and employee litigation. Contact The Doan Law Firm, P.C. today.