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Protecting injured workers in the oil and gas industries

Gas drilling is an important industry in Pennsylvania, but it is an occupation that can pose certain hazards for workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has outlined safety standards for drill sites and employers. However, many sites have gone without an inspection for an extended period of time, while others have never been inspected. Without regular inspections, it is possible that safety could be unnecessarily compromised, and injured workers may not know where to turn.

Statistics reveal that more than almost 9,500 wells have been dug in Pennsylvania since 2004. OSHA has inspected less than three percent of Marcellus Shale drilling sites in the state. Inspections, while they are intended to routinely ensure that safety measures are properly observed, can be random, scheduled or performed after a job site accident.

OSHA is assigned the responsibility of protecting the safety of workers in all industries. For those who are employed in the gas industry, this includes those who work on oil and gas extraction or provide support for those operations. OSHA's inability to keep up with the rapid growth of the oil and gas industries in Pennsylvania underlines the importance of workers seeking a full understanding of their right to a safe workplace and workers' compensation benefits.

When a person is injured while working on a drill site, he or she has a rightful claim to certain benefits through workers' compensation insurance. When unsafe drill site conditions or the negligence of an employer causes injury or illness, workers may seek the help of a lawyer who can advocate for his or her needs. For an explanation of the rights of injured workers, a complete case evaluation is recommended. 

Source: pennlive.com, "OSHA inspects less than 3% of shale drilling sites in Pennsylvania", Candy Woodall, Oct. 21, 2015

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