Several workplace related deaths have occurred in Williams County over the last few weeks.
A fallen forklift crushed a 26-year-old Colorado man and killed him at around 5:45 a.m. on Dec. 18.
Daniel Okyere was found dead by the time police arrived at the United Pulse Trading site. It was determined that the reason the forklift fell was because Okyere had gotten his jacket lodged in it. Okyere worked for the Williston branch of United Pulse Trading, Inc., a well-known grain and crop processing plant based in Canada.
Though the case is reportedly still under investigation, United Pulse Trading manager Eric Bartsch said that safety is “a priority” for the company and that they remain dedicated to doing everything possible to provide a safe environment for workers.
OSHA Area Director Eric Brooks recalled the incident, reporting that OSHA received notification of the fatality and then initiated an inspection – which is currently ongoing.
In any workplace related death, OSHA’s procedure is to look at every aspect of the job being done, including training for the job, the equipment that was used and the service procedures surrounding the job. The purpose is to make sure the company was not at fault in any way in the accident, and that the company is currently in compliance with OSHA standards.
“We are digging into why this occurred,” Brooks said. He reported that so far, there have been no violations of OSHA terms and conditions found in the Okyere case.
Within the next 30 days, Brooks estimates that OSHA agents will be finished investigating the case.
On New Year’s Eve, a piece of drilling pipe became dislodged and struck Keith Munro of Sioux Falls, S.D., fatally injuring him at his workplace, a Nabors Drilling rig, located 10 miles north of town.
Compliance officers were en route to investigate on Jan. 2. Nabors Drilling has been compliant with OSHA investigators, but were not available for comment to the Williston Herald as of press time.
Because the accident happened on a drilling rig, Brooks said the investigation is “more complex,” and will involve more angles than a non-drilling rig case.
“The investigation is more complex because the drilling operation is more complex,” Brooks said. “It’s a larger operation.”
As of Friday, Brooks reported OSHA compliance officers to be conducting interviews with Nabors Drilling employees regarding the accident.