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Public Lab Research note

Story Of Oil Field Worker's Death linked to VOCs

by sara | July 18, 2012 15:39 18 Jul 15:39 | #2864 | #2864

Lacey Bergsing left this story as comment to TXSharon's Blog about the death of her fiancee due to exposure to hydrocarbon fumes. Dustin Bergsing was a Marathon employee working in flowback operations. He was working 24 hour shifts alone when he died:

I, Lacey Bergsing, am the Fiancee and mother of Dustin's Bergsing's daughter. There are more than just gases that need to be looked in to when it comes to the safety of the workers in all aspects of the oil fields. Dustin was always telling me things that he had to go through out there on the sites and the majority of them should be considered illegal!!!! When Dustin was hired on with this job the employers made the job seem extremely accomodating. He was provided a brand new trailer to reside in on site, there was another employee on the site splitting the shift with him and everything was easy as pie. But, as the weeks went on the living conditions worsened considerably. The last trailer Dustin resided in at the site that he died had no heat or water. The propane did not work and by the time of his death he was the only worker on the site. This made it so that he was working 24 hour shifts for 2-3 weeks at a time. You don't even know how exhausted he was only being able to get sleep at half hour intervals for up to 3 weeks. Yes the pay was good but the lack of sleep was almost unbearable for him and you are not allowed to leave the site during those weeks so if you run out of food, drinking water, etc. He was S.O.L. It should be law and mandatory that there are at least 2 workers on each site so the 24 hours in a day can be divided. Not only would that enable workers to get some rest, there would be someone else in case of emergency. Dustin clocked in at 10:00 pm the night he died. The overflow tank alarm went off at 10:10pm. That means Dust died somewhere in those ten minutes. After the alarm went off it took over 5 hours for anyone to arrive to see what was going on. If there had been someone else there, who knows maybe my husband could have been saved. And as for the gases that the workers' deal with...Each site is deemed clean or dirty before flow back testers are sent out there. If it is rated clean the worker is NOT required to wear a mask while gauging the tanks. It should be law and mandatory for the workers to be wearing a mask EVERYTIME the go out to gauge the tanks no matter if the well is deemed clean or not. The point is there are so so so many things that the companies are not doing to keep their employees' safe on the job. Why??? because they are cheap and treat their employees' as if they are expendable. Thank you for your time and I wish you the best in your goals. -Lacey Bergsing


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