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OSHA officials investigating second oilfield death in 4 days

ROSS, N.D. - A safety official called this "a tragic week in the Bakken" after an oil worker died at a well site in Mountrail County, the second North Dakota oilfield fatality in three days.

ROSS, N.D. – A safety official called this “a tragic week in the Bakken” after an oil worker died at a well site in Mountrail County, the second North Dakota oilfield fatality in three days.

A 36-year-old employee of Advanced Energy LLC was crushed by a crane boom near Ross about 10:30 p.m. Monday, said Eric Brooks, area director of the Bismarck OSHA office.

The man, who is from Michigan, was not immediately identified.

The worker was part of a drilling crew that was taking pipe out of the ground to replace a survey tool that was 650 feet to 700 feet underground, Brooks said, citing the initial report. The employee was struck and killed by the crane boom as it descended, according to OSHA.

EOG Resources owns the well.

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“Our thoughts and prayers go out to family, friends and co-workers of this individual,” said EOG spokeswoman K Leonard. “EOG also thanks the emergency personnel who responded to the scene.”

OSHA also is investigating a flash fire at an oil well east of Watford City that killed one man and injured three others on Saturday.

Previously, OSHA had not investigated an oil and gas fatality in North Dakota since August 2015.

“It’s been quiet for a while, but it just serves as a reminder that this is a very, very dangerous business that can be done safely, if and only if we aggressively enforce well-established safety programs,” Brooks said.

OSHA has issued one serious violation to Advanced Energy in the past five years, according to information on the OSHA website.

OSHA records say employees of Advanced Energy involved in a drilling operation in April 2015 in Colorado were not protected from crushing hazards, which resulted in a worker suffering a severe foot injury. OSHA listed the gravity of the violation as five on a scale of one to 10.

An employee in Advanced Energy’s Michigan office said Tuesday the company had no comment.

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