March 24, 2015 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 0Comment

James “Rusty Shake-Down” Harrison, 35, suffered fatal traumatic injuries on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 while working at a drilling operation in southeastern, New Mexico. KCBD reports:

  • 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 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.”

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