Heidi Rice

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August 18, 2004
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Man dies in EnCana drilling rig accident

A 62-year-old Grand Junction man died in a drilling rig accident on an EnCana well Friday afternoon south of Rifle - two weeks short of his planned retirement.The accident is the second fatality on an EnCana well in western Colorado in the past two months.The Garfield County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene shortly after 3 p.m. and determined that the incident was an industrial accident and no foul play was involved, Garfield Sheriff Lou Vallario said.Randall E. Taylor was working on the Wolverine Drilling Rig No. 33 south and east of Rifle when the accident happened. Taylor was up on a platform when the rigging above him broke loose and fell, killing him with blunt force trauma to the head and chest, according to the Garfield County Coroner's Office."He was two weeks away from retirement, and he and his wife were looking forward to it," said Steve Pollard, deputy coroner for Garfield County.Taylor was an employee of Wolverine Drilling, Inc. in Wyoming, a subcontractor for EnCana USA.The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration were both notified and are investigating the accident."The accident was related to a rig contractor, but we don't have jurisdiction on these types of actions," said Brian Macke, acting director for the COGCC. "Over the years there have been injuries (in the oil and gas industry) and occasionally fatalities."OSHA says they are investigating both Wolverine and EnCana for possible violations."We're collecting evidence and talking to different individuals," said Herb Gibson, Denver area director for OSHA. "We'll determine the cause and if there are any violations of federal law. We'll look at the physical nature of what is occurring, including any training and policies. Then we'll make a report if we find any violations."Gibson said one or both companies could be held responsible.A 26-year-old Pennsylvania man died when a rig collapsed in June at an EnCana well 55 miles southwest of Meeker. He was employed Union Drilling Inc. of Utah. That incident is also still under investigation.EnCana says it is fully cooperating with the COGCC and OSHA in their investigations."It wasn't our employee," said Walter Lowry, director of industry and community relations for EnCana. "But we're very concerned. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers.""It wasn't our employee," said Walter Lowry, director of industry and community relations for EnCana. "But we're very concerned. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers."


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The Post Independent Updated Aug 18, 2004 11:57PM Published Aug 18, 2004 12:00AM Copyright 2004 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.