Lawyers for Family of Worker Killed in Oklahoma Gas Well Blow-Out Point to New Findings by Chemical Safety Board

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s update of its investigation of the fatal Jan. 22 gas well blow-out near Quinton, Oklahoma, has identified multiple safety failures at the well site where five workers died, said Dallas Michael Lyons, who represents the family of one of the victims.

“The work of the Chemical Safety Board is appreciated and critical to the evaluation of safety in the oil and gas industry,” said Mr. Lyons, co-founder of Dallas-based Lyons & Simmons, who represents the family of Parker Waldridge.

“The CSB’s investigation reveals, along with the independent investigation by my firm, that this tragedy was 100 percent preventable. This disaster was the product of multiple failures to adhere to safe oilfield drilling practices,” Mr. Lyons said.

The well was operated by Oklahoma City-based Red Mountain Energy. The drilling contractor was Houston-based Patterson-UTI Energy Inc., a company with an extensive history of fatal accidents and safety violations. Both Patterson and Red Mountain have already been cited by OSHA for this incident.

According to published reports, Mr. Waldridge, 60, of Crescent, Oklahoma, was one of the workers trapped in an operations room when the blow-out and ensuring well fire occurred. The investigation indicates that rig workers had tripped out of the well bore, changed out a drill bit and opened the blind rams when the blow-out occurred.

“At the last clear chance to avoid a blow-out, one of the most critical pieces of safety equipment on the rig, the accumulator, failed,” said Mr. Lyons. “This prevented the well from being shut in to save lives. These brave men deserved better, and Patterson-UTI failed all of them.”

Representing Mr. Waldridge’s family along with Mr. Lyons is Lyons & Simmons attorney Christopher Simmons, and Michael Burrage of Whitten & Burrage of Oklahoma City.

The lawsuit is Dianna Waldridge v. Red Mountain Operating, LL, Red Mountain Energy, LLC, Patterson-TUTI Drilling Co., LLC, Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc., Patterson-UTI Management Services, LLC, National Oilwell Varco, LP and Crescent Consulting LLC, Case No.: CJ-2018-00042 In the Oklahoma District Court of Pittsburg County.

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