Experienced Princeton Injury Attorney for West Virginia Marcellus Shale Accidents
For over 35 years, attorney Kay Bayless of the Bayless Law Firm has been helping the working men and women of southern West Virginia when they have suffered from a serious personal injury due to the negligence or misconduct of another, or when they have been mistreated at work through discrimination, harassment, or a violation of overtime and other state and federal wage and hour laws. Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale has boomed in recent years, creating an abundance of employment opportunities in West Virginia’s oil and gas industry. Unfortunately, in the rush to be the first to get the most gas out of the shale, fracking and other operations are not always undertaken with due regard to worker safety. When preventable accidents occur, the Bayless Law Firm stands up for injured workers and their families to hold the energy companies liable for their negligence.
Facts About Marcellus Shale Accidents in West Virginia
While the Marcellus Shale Formation covers large parts of New York and Pennsylvania and a good portion of Ohio, it encompasses nearly the entire state of West Virginia. Shale is a porous sedimentary rock capable of trapping large pockets of natural gas, and extracting that gas has increasingly become a major source of U.S. energy production. The Marcellus Shale is estimated to hold as much as 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Even if only ten percent of that amount can be recovered, the Marcellus Shale is still one of the biggest potential sources of natural gas in the country.
Extracting natural gas from shale deposits is not an easy matter. The process requires drilling a vertical well, followed by horizontal drilling and fracturing of the shale, a process commonly known as fracking. Highly salinated water is pumped into the rock to release the gas, and the toxic wastewater which is produced often raises environmental concerns about fracking. The risk of personal injury is great as well. A gas well blowout, or drilling into a pocket of methane, can create an enormous explosion, setting the drilling rig on fire. In addition to the risk of severe burn injuries, the concussion from a violent explosion can cause permanent hearing loss, fractures and internal injuries, and other serious personal injuries or death.
Even without a blowout, gas wells and drilling rigs can be hazardous workplaces that require serious attention to safety and personal protection for workers. Risks include toxic exposure, falls from unstable catwalks, platforms and scaffolds, being hit by falling objects, or being injured by forklifts, cranes, or the many trucks and commercial vehicles constantly moving in and out of the area. Contractors who fail to maintain a safe worksite and provide worker protection can be liable for injuries or deaths which result.
Unpaid Overtime Runs Rampant in the Marcellus Shale
In addition to the risk of personal injury, workers in the Marcellus Shale Formation are ripe for becoming victims of wage and hour violations. Energy companies hire a myriad of contractors and subcontractors on any given project, and in the confusion it can be difficult to keep track of whether workers are being paid what is owed. After a two-year investigation, the U.S Department of Labor required Marcellus Shale contractors to pay $4.5 million in back wages. The Bayless Law Firm maintains an active wage and hour practice, representing employees who are victims of unpaid overtime and other wage violations.
Act Swiftly for Legal Representation After a Marcellus Shale Injury
Time is money in the gas industry, and energy companies want to recover from an industrial accident and resume production as soon as possible. In the rush to get the site operational again, important evidence regarding the accident is often quickly cleared away and lost forever. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence of the employer’s negligence and help ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries.
If you have been injured in a Marcellus Shale accident, or if you lost a loved one to a blowout, explosion or other incident, contact the Bayless Law Firm to speak with an experienced West Virginia personal injury and wrongful death attorney. Your call is free, confidential, and does not obligate you in any way. We can be reached toll-free at (800) 359-2356, or contact us online to schedule a consultation.