WILLISTON — A 28-year-old Marine combat veteran died Wednesday after sustaining work-related injuries in the Williston area.

Dustin Payne, of Hazel Green, Ala., worked as a welder for Nabors Completion and Production Services.

Scott Overson, acting area director at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Bismarck office, said Nabors Completion and Production Services contacted his office Wednesday after business hours to inform him of the death.

The federal agency was told Payne was welding a water hauler at the time the accident occurred. Overson said Thursday that compliance officers were en route to the area to investigate the incident.

Williston Fire Chief Jason Catrambone said the city ambulance was dispatched to an explosion at 3:56 p.m. on Oct. 3 at 58th St. N.W. in Williams County.

The ambulance transported Payne to the Mercy Medical Center for a Guardian flight to Trinity Health in Minot.

The hospital's coroner refused to release information on Payne, and a formal request for cause of death has been submitted to the state medical examiner.

Overson said companies are required to report a fatality or “catastrophe,” meaning three or more people hospitalized during an incident, within eight hours.

Payne listed Nabors Drilling as his employer on Facebook, but the company said Payne was not an employee, referring the Williston Herald to Nabors Completion and Production Services in Williston, which did not return a call as of press time.

Overson said federal reporting requirements to OHSA could change in January, and would prompt a call by companies for “single hospitalizations, amputations or the loss of an eye.”

North Dakota is among the most dangerous states to work in, according to recent a study.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the nation's largest labor federation, released a report in May showing North Dakota having the highest worker death rate in the country, with 17.7 fatalities per 100,000 employees in 2012. That rate was a dramatic increase from the seven deaths per 100,000 workers recorded in 2007, the year before the oil boom began.

North Dakota also had the highest worker fatality rate in the nation in 2011, with 12.4 deaths per 100,000 employees that year, according to the AFL-CIO. The national worker fatality rate was 3.5 deaths per 100,000 employees in 2011.

Twitter: @EricKillelea

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