WyoFile Energy Report

Rig fatality in May was Wyoming’s 8th death on the job this year

— June 12, 2013

A 32-year-old Worland man was killed in a drilling rig accident north of Baggs, Wyoming, on May 15. Carl Jordan had been on the job for less than 90 days, said his wife, Cathy Jordan.

“It could have been prevented. It was an operator error,” she told WyoFile.

Carl was working on the floor of Winchester Well Service’s rig No. 1691 when blocks used to “cool the brakes” fell and struck him, said Carbon County Sheriff Jerry Colson. Jordan died at the scene. Wyoming OSHA confirmed that it is investigating the accident.

Rig No. 1691 is Winchester’s only rig, according to Cathy Jordan and the sheriff’s report. The company is based in Worland. When contacted via telephone by WyoFile, a woman who claimed to represent the company said, “I’m not going to give you any information.”

Carl Jordan left behind his wife and three children in Worland, as well as a child in Laramie and a child in Las Vegas, Nevada. His parents and numerous relatives also live in Worland where Carl grew up and went to school, according his obituary.

Wyoming state epidemiologist Mack Sewell told WyoFile that, unofficially, Jordan’s death in May was Wyoming’s 8th workplace fatality in 2013. That statistic will remain unofficial because it takes months, sometimes more than a year to verify workplace fatalities.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 4,693 workers were killed on the job in 2011, and approximately 50,000 workers died from occupational diseases. There were 25 fatalities in Wyoming in 2012, according to Sewell — but that figure will increase once he’s finished verifying data. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 32 workplace fatalities in Wyoming in 2011, and 33 in 2010.

Wyoming still ranks among the worst in the nation in workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers.

— Dustin Bleizeffer is WyoFile editor-in-chief. He has written about Wyoming’s energy industries for 15 years. You can reach him at (307) 577-6069 or email dustin@wyofile.com. Follow Dustin on Twitter at @DBleizeffer

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Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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  1. These too frequent stories are very painful to read. Especially in light of our legislature’s repeated failure to do anything meaningful to prevent these tragedies. Their much touted new program provides voluntary safety inspections and $10,000 grants to start company safety programs. That’s it. No real mandatory, unannounced inspections, no real enforced rules. Better a few dead husbands and fathers than government interference with an employer’s rush to get those wells in, I guess. Wyoming’s failure to force safer workplaces is shameful.