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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Was Fatal Accident in Noble County Preventable?

From a letter to the editor in the Marietta Times:
I sighed when I learned of an oilfield accident in Noble County on Nov. 12 that claimed the life of a 48-year-old Virginia man. I felt sad because I knew his death was preventable. 
The growing list of safety and environmental incidents occurring in Ohio’s Utica shale play is alarming to me. 
My message to managers of companies that operate rigs, wells, pipelines, and facilities is simple. Raise your game. Set a higher safety standard than you are accepting. 
My message to officials who regulate these companies’ activities is also simple. Raise your standards. Demand better risk management. 
My message to all interested parties is stop accepting the notion that accidents are inevitable. 
I am not an opponent of the oil and gas industry. To the contrary I am a strong industry advocate. I was raised in Monroe County in a family whose oilfield history dates back more than a century. After receiving a Petroleum Engineering degree from Marietta College I enjoyed an exciting oilfield career, working in many different countries. 
Why did I start out saying I know the Noble County fatality was preventable? I have investigated numerous oilfield incidents and studied hundreds more. In every case there was an opportunity to prevent the incident.
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