The Keystone Pipeline and Bakken Oil Field accidents

By Anders Blewett

Bakken oil field accidents, despite claims to the contrary, are old news for Montanans. However, with the possibility of the Keystone pipeline being used to transport a large portion of Bakken field oil to coastal refineries, the range of workplace accidents that can impact workers of the Bakken oil field is changing rapidly as we move away from rail transport of crude oil and towards a cross-country pipeline.

Bakken Oil field and pipeline workplace safety

The number of safety regulations that are being devised to avoid Keystone pipeline and Bakken oil field accidents is constantly growing, with increasing regulations being implemented to monitor the quality of construction of the keystone pipeline through U.S. soil.

However, with any change in industry, comes an increased risk of accident and injury, with the potential transition to the Keystone pipeline being no exception. Many of the injuries and accidents caused by oil pipelines are similar to those that occur in the Bakken oil field. However, there are several unique hazards which pipeline workers and members of the public are exposed:

  • Accidents related to the construction of the pipeline across varying terrain
  • Accidents at pipeline terminals where the contents of a pipeline are loaded and unloaded
  • Accidents from improper maintenance of pipelines leading to corrosion and spilling.

Claimants injured in oil pipeline related accidents in Montana often have difficulty obtaining compensation for their injuries, because oil workers are barred from filing personal injury lawsuits against their employers under Montana law. However, with the increased complexity involved in building and maintaining an oil pipeline, there are various situations in which injured an oil field worker may successfully pursue and personal injury lawsuit. For instance, oil field workers may be able to pursue injury claims when faulty machinery or construction causes an accident or when the negligence of a contractor, an employee of another company, the owner of an oil well site or other third party causes the injury or assumes responsibility for the safety of the workplace. An experienced Montana oil field accident attorney will be able to analyze the facts of your case to make these determinations.

Potential for reduced rail traffic

With all of the focus on the new Keystone pipeline, it’s important to remember that shipments of oil from the Bakken oil field are still being transported through the rail system. Crude oil transport through the rail system is fraught with risk as can be seen by the recent train derailment at Lac Mégantic in Canada.

Often times, the railroad company causes injuries and accidents to occur due to carelessness and poor maintenance of equipment and infrastructure. Understanding your rights when you’ve been injured working in the Bakken oil fields or transporting oil from the Bakken oil fields is critical to ensuring that you receive fair compensation from the party at fault. The railroad accident lawyers of Hoyt & Blewett PLLC have a wealth of experience in protecting the rights of injured railroad workers, particularly those accidents which occur in Bakken oil fields.

 

If you or someone you know has been injured by a Bakken oil field or rail transport related accident, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation on how you could benefit from a Montana oil field accidents attorney.