Our client worked as derrick man on an oil rig. During drilling, the flow line between the drilling rig and the flow tank filled up with oil-based mud. The line got so full it over-pressured and separated at the mud tanks. Oil-based mud spewed out at high pressures. When the line separated, it separated with enough force that it ripped electrical lines, causing an electrical spark. The spark ignited the oil-based mud in an inferno. Our client was caught in the fire and burned over 60% of his body, including his face.
The Monsour attorneys, assisted by seasoned oilfield experts, discovered that the rig in question had moved just before the explosion. The operator moved the rig 100 feet from one hole to another. In a cost-saving measure, the operator decided to move the rig but leave backyard – including the mud tanks. The flow line had to be extended from 10 feet to 110 feet so it would reach the mud tanks. The long, flat flow line presented problems moving the drilling fluids and cuttings into the mud tanks. The operator installed a rotating head during a very early phase of the drilling to help move fluids and cuttings the length of the flow line.
There was a kick, and a sudden surge of fluid filled the flow line. Because the rotating head had been installed too early, there was nowhere for the fluid to go. The flow line backed up and over-pressured, causing the line to separate and start the explosion.
The Monsour attorneys learned that the company responsible for the flow line idea had hired a roughneck turned welder to design its 100 foot, flat flow line. The company should have hired an engineer to design the flow line. The welder failed to put a pressure relief valve into the flow line. Without a pressure relief valve, the system backed up instead of bleeding off pressure. Once the design flaw was uncovered, the company settled for a confidential amount.
Our client was lowering the guardrails on top of a frac tank so he could move the tank to another location. The railings snapped at their hinges. The broken railing fell over the side of the frac tank and took our client with it. Our client fell from the top of the twelve foot frac tank. The fall broke his foot and injured his back. This caused permanent injury, and the client is no longer able to work.
The Monsour attorneys talked to design engineers, who determined that the hinges on the frac tank were never designed according to industry standards. The tank’s designer then admitted he had never even looked at the industry standards when designing his guardrails. Once it was certain that the guardrail design did not meet industry standards, the company settled for a confidential amount.
BOP Stack Lifts
Our client was hired to perform a stack lift. The first step in the operation is to get the equipment onto the rig floor. The equipment included two 500 pound hydraulic winches attached to a metal skid. Proper procedure is to detach the winches from the skid and use the air hoists to bring each winch up one at a time.
The driller was running behind schedule and wanted to lift both winches onto the rig floor at the same time. Our client knew that both winches could not fit through the V-Door at the same time. Our client called a work-stop and asked everyone to meet him in the doghouse for a safety meeting.
Our client waited in the doghouse for the drilling crew to join him. Then, our client heard the air hoists start up. He ran out of the doghouse yelling for the crew to stop. Just then, the drilling crew was hoisting the two 500 pound winches over the rig floor’s guardrails. When the winches cleared the guardrail, they swung down and smashed our client’s chest, crushing his ribs.
At first, the drilling crew blamed our client for his own injuries. But the Monsour attorneys asked for the drug test results of every crew member on site. They found that the drilling company had not tested any of its crew until weeks after the accident. Company policy required immediate drug testing after the injury. The Monsour attorneys also learned that the driller was awaiting trial for two DWI charges at the time of the accident. The drilling company was unable to explain why it did not drug test its crew even though it was company policy and the driller was awaiting trial for two DWIs. The company settled for a confidential amount.
Open Rat Holes or Mouse Holes
Our client was hired to perform a BOP nipple up operation. The drilling company that had hired him failed to cover the mouse hole when it was not in use. A recent rain had filled the mouse hole with water and covered the rig with mud. The water and mud made the mouse hole almost impossible to see. As our client was moving equipment from the trucks, he stepped into the concealed hole. He was severely injured, requiring surgery. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Our clients were part of a fracing crew. As the fracing crew primed its pumps to prepare for the next stage of the operation, a pinhole leak was reported from the low pressure side of the manifold. Four men went to investigate. Before the problem could be assessed, the end of the manifold exploded, killing one man and injuring two others. Investigation revealed that the manufacturer of the manifold had failed to weld the endplate to the manifold properly. The manufacturer settled for a confidential amount.
Our client was a swamper hired to help move drilling rigs with a pole truck. During a night move, our client was helping to move a set of stairs when a forklift ran over his leg and crushed it. The broken leg required surgery, including plates and screws, to fix it. Our client was off work for months.
The forklift driver’s employer initially denied that the accident ever happened. The Monsour attorneys tracked down receipts and paperwork proving that the injury had happened exactly the way our client described. When the company realized it could not deny that our client had been hurt, it settled for a confidential amount.