OSHA investigates oilfield fatality near Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating an incident that killed a worker last week at an oil site east of Williston.Jared Rizzo, 23, an employee of Wisco Inc., died Thursday, Feb. 1, from his injuries ...

WILLISTON, N.D. - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating an incident that killed a worker last week at an oil site east of Williston.

Jared Rizzo, 23, an employee of Wisco Inc., died Thursday, Feb. 1, from his injuries after being struck by a falling traveling block on a workover rig, said Eric Brooks, director of the Bismarck Area OSHA office.

An OSHA investigator was at the site on Friday and planned to return to the site Monday, Brooks said.

Rizzo, of Streator, Ill., had been working in North Dakota for a few months and planned to move into an apartment this week, said his friend Jordan Donnelly.

“He was probably one of the funniest guys you’d ever meet,” said Donnelly, also of Streator. “He was a blast to be around.”

Donnelly and other friends in Illinois are working to raise money to help the family with expenses. They’d like to pay off a loan on Rizzo’s truck and give the truck to his sister. A fundraiser is set up at www.gofundme.com/jared-rizzos-funeral-costs.

A statement issued by an attorney on behalf of Wisco said they are working with law enforcement and regulatory agencies on a detailed investigation.

“We are devastated by this tragic loss, and we are doing everything we can to support our employees’ family and co-workers. The safety of our employees is our highest priority, and we work rigorously to ensure employees return home safely at the end of each shift,” the statement read.

The well is owned by Whiting Oil and Gas Corp. An email request seeking comment from Whiting media relations was not returned Monday.

The last time OSHA investigated an oilfield fatality in North Dakota was January 2017, Brooks said.