- The incident happened around 3:30 p.m.
- According to the Lea County Sheriff’s Office “workers were loading oil field related materials into perforated pipe, which was being installed into the drilling pipe when an explosion occurred.”
- “The oil field site belonged to Mesquite SWD.”
- Mr. Harrison, and another worker who was seriously injured in the incident, were employed by Warrior Wireline.
Sarah Matott of the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports:
- Emergency services from both Lea and Eddy counties, as well as from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, responded to the incident.
- An Eddy County official said the source of the explosion was believed to be “a tank battery fire.”
Each year, about 50 workers in New Mexico are fatally injured on-the-job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 53 work-related fatal injuries in New Mexico during 2013 (preliminary data, most recent available.) Nationwide, at least 4,405 workers suffered fatal traumatic injuries in 2013.
The AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job report notes:
- New Mexico OSHA has 9 inspectors to cover more than 43,000 workplaces.
- The average penalty for a serious workplace safety violation in New Mexico is $998.
New Mexico-OSHA has mid-September 2015 to issue any citations and penalties related to the incident that stole James Harrison’s life. It’s likely they’ll determine that Harrison’s death was preventable. It was no “accident.”