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Baton Rouge Premises Liability Lawyers

Oilfield Roughneck: Injury Tripping Pipe — $475,000

Our client was a young man of slight build and the end of his foot was crushed when he was alone handling the slips on the drilling rig floor during a pipe-tripping operation (going in the hole). The picture above shows three floor men handling the slips.

The driller, backed up by other company personnel, claimed that in-hole pipe tripping with one man handling of the slips — which weighed more than our client for the 5-inch drill pipe used — was routine. Though having a brake handle in one hand, the driller said that because he had to be looking up in the derrick at the block as the drill string was being lowered, he could not see a floor man in distress in time to stop operations to prevent injury.

The drilling company blamed the accident entirely on our client for falling as he navigated the rig floor, wet with drilling mud and dope (grease) as he tried to maneuver the slips to drop them into the rotary at just the exact moment needed to wedge the drill string.

During cross examination of the driller, it became clear to the driller that the attorney conducting the examination had himself worked as a driller, and it was made clear to the jury that the driller routinely had both the ability to monitor floor activity while lowering the drill string as well as the duty to do so — particularly when he was working a two-man floor instead of three, and particularly with a floor man of such small stature who was required to manhandle the slips by himself.

A jury damage award of $475,000 was returned.