Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Driller in Oklahoma Explosion Has History of Deadly Accidents, Safety Violations

Energy

The drilling company involved in Monday's natural gas rig explosion in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma that killed five workers has a long record of deadly accidents and numerous safety violations.

Ten workers have died within the past ten years at well sites linked to Houston-based Patterson-UTI Energy, the Associated Press reported, citing data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


The accidents occurred at drilling sites in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Patterson-UTI has also been fined nearly $367,000 in the last decade for more than 140 safety violations, including many serious ones.

According to the AP:

"A 2008 report from a U.S. Senate committee described Patterson-UTI as one of the nation's worst violators of workplace safety laws. The report devoted an entire section to the company and 13 employees who died in Texas rig accidents over a nearly four-year period.

"A separate AP analysis published in 2008 showed at least 20 Patterson-UTI employees died on the job between 2002 and 2007. No other oil and gas company had more than five fatal accidents during that span."

The rig explosion this week appears to be the deadliest since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico claimed the lives of 11 men.

"Patterson-UTI has embraced a culture of continuous improvement in safety, training and operations," the company responded to the AP about its safety record. "In recent years, we have invested millions of dollars on training and protective equipment and worked to instill a company-wide culture where safety is the top priority of each employee."

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the explosion near the town of Quinton. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will also consider launching a larger investigation.

An initial report indicates an uncontrolled gas release led to the blast. A worker at the scene tried unsuccessfully to shut the well down.

"There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our employees and others we partner with in the field. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected and their loved ones," the company said in a statement after the explosion.

"We are actively investigating the cause of the tragedy so that we can learn from it and protect against it happening again."

This fall brings three new environmental movies. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet | Official Trailer

This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice walk out and rally at the company's headquarters to demand that leaders take action on climate change in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. JASON REDMOND / AFP via Getty Images

The world's largest online retailer is making it slightly easier for customer to make eco-conscious choices.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Moms Clean Air Force members attend a press conference hosted by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announcing legislation to ban chlorpyrifos on July 25, 2017. Moms Clean Air Force

The Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a risk assessment for toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos Tuesday that downplayed its effects on children's brains and may be the first indication of how the administration's "secret science" policy could impact public health.

Read More Show Less
Evacuees wait to board a bus as they are evacuated by local and state government officials before the arrival of Hurricane Laura on August 26, 2020 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Maria Trimarchi and Sarah Gleim

If all the glaciers and ice caps on the planet melted, global sea level would rise by about 230 feet. That amount of water would flood nearly every coastal city around the world [source: U.S. Geological Survey]. Rising temperatures, melting arctic ice, drought, desertification and other catastrophic effects of climate change are not examples of future troubles — they are reality today. Climate change isn't just about the environment; its effects touch every part of our lives, from the stability of our governments and economies to our health and where we live.

Read More Show Less
In 'My Octopus Teacher,' Craig Foster becomes fascinated with an octopus and visits her for hundreds of days in a row. Netflix

In his latest documentary, My Octopus Teacher, free diver and filmmaker Craig Foster tells a unique story about his friendship and bond with an octopus in a kelp forest in Cape Town, South Africa. It's been labeled "the love story that we need right now" by The Cut.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch