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State DEP cites Chevron for fatal February well explosion

Any industrial worker across the country, including in Pennsylvania, can suffer a workplace injury in a split second because of faulty equipment or because someone is not following safety precautions. However, injuries or deaths are more likely to happen in an industrial accident in a hazardous workplace. This is why state and federal organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Environmental Protection in Pennsylvania are constantly working to enhance employee safety in those industries that have the highest probability of industrial accidents.

More recently, the state DEP issued Chevron Inc. nine citations for violations at a natural gas well because of a February explosion that killed one worker. The well site was in Dunkard Township, some 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. A 27-year-old worker for a Houston subcontractor died in the explosion. The cause is still undetermined. The DEP cited Chevron in part because the company kept state officials away from site for two days, a violation of rules requiring regulators to have unrestricted access to any accident site.

Anytime an industrial establishment is found to have compromised worker safety through acts of negligence or deliberate failure to follow safety regulations, organizations such as OSHA and the state DEP can issue citations that may involve substantial punitive fines. Chevron is denying the DEP allegations. With possible regulatory actions and lawsuits in the offing, representatives for the company and the state DEP are undoubtedly considering their options.

Any person who suffers an on-the-job injury in such an industrial accident can seek legal redress to obtain adequate compensation from the negligent employer to cover medical expenses for the treatment of injuries, as well as lost wages. If someone dies because of negligence on the part of an employer, then a wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued.

Source: ABC27.com, "DEP issues violations for Chevron well fire," April 11, 2014

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