Two men from Colorado were reportedly killed in an underground explosion while working at a dam outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Hayden Tucker, a 22-year-old from Grand Junction, and 48-year-old Phillip Hughes of South Fork were killed in the explosion, according to the Associated Press. The men were working for DA Smith Drilling Co., a drilling firm based in Grand Junction, on a project at the Robert S. Kerr Dam.
The Grand River Dam Authority says the explosion occurred about 80 feet below the surface of the ground, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. The entity that operates the dam said a preliminary investigation showed that the blast was caused by a pocket of naturally occurring gas underground.
“The dam authority had contracted with Oklahoma State University’s Pickens’ School of Geology to study the dam’s internal base, which has suffered scouring from flooding,” Dennis Webb reports for the Daily Sentinel. “The authority said natural gas was detected during the work, and OSU subcontracted with DA Smith Drilling, which has expertise in core drilling, to assess the concrete integrity and bedrock contact at dams.”
The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration said it is investigating the accident. DA Smith declined the Daily Sentinel’s request for comment.
Hughes was a father of six who had worked in drilling for decades. Tucker, survived by his parents and two siblings, grew up in Grand Junction and played football at Fruita Monument High School.
Injured on the Job? Here is What You Should Know
Anyone who is injured in an accident on the job has the right to seek compensation, whether it is through workers’ compensation benefits or a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” insurance program that allows injured employees to get benefits for missed wages and medical bills. An injured worker seeking these benefits only has to show that he or she is covered by the benefits program, rather than prove that a specific person or entity is legally responsible for the accident.
There are a number of important steps that you must take to preserve your right to these benefits. That includes reporting the injury to your employer and seeking medical attention from a list of approved providers. You also have to be able to prove that your injuries actually occurred at work.
In the tragic case that a person dies in an accident on the job, his or her family is entitled to certain death benefits. They can also pursue a wrongful death action against those responsible for the accident.
It is vital to have a seasoned attorney in your corner. Employers and their insurers often fight tooth and nail to avoid or limit workers’ compensation and other payouts.
Talk with a Denver Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident on the job in Colorado, a Denver injury attorney at Levine Law can help you get the full compensation available. We have a long track record of successful results for our clients.
We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver injury attorney.