The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the death of a 45-year-old gas well worker. The man died earlier this week at West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield, where he had been admitted after suffering serious burns in an explosion at the well site.
The man and four other co-workers had been at the hospital since the blast on July 7 in West Virginia. The conditions of the remaining four workers who suffered burns in this case of workplace injury are not known.
According to a spokesman for Antero Resources, the owner of the well operation, the workers were part of a crew that was just putting the finishing touches on the well’s set-up when seeping methane gas ignited.
The cause of the spark and explosion has yet to be determined. Investigators from the state and federal levels are said to be looking into the matter. So is an independent investigating team under the direction of Antero. Antero has until the end of the month to provide an explanation of what happened and outline what it will do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The well site has been closed down since at least July 12 by order of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
This is the kind of accident that serves to reinforce just why workers compensation laws are on the books in Pennsylvania and every other state. Every employer is required to carry this coverage for the express purpose of making sure that when an injury on the job occurs that the worker is covered for the medical coverage that may be needed.
Wage compensation for those who are thrown out of work because of their injuries is included among the benefits. In the worst cases, when a fatality results, death benefits are available for the victim’s dependent survivors.
The process for obtaining the maximum benefits possible can be difficult and especially stressful in the emotional aftermath of injury or loss of life. Seeking an attorney’s help is always advised.
Source: WVGazette.com, “Victim of Doddridge gas well explosion dies,” The Associated Press, July 24, 2013