Workplace deaths drop, except in oil industry

Sergio Rincon kissed his wife goodbye, stowed his sack lunch inside the cab of his Chevy Avalanche and then returned to the house for one long last embrace before setting off for the oil fields on April 14, 2009.

Rincon, fit from his daily workouts at 51, hoisted his sweetheart atop a low step in the living room to even out a 4-inch height difference and clasped her tightly against his coveralls.

“Te amo,” he said. “Remember, you are the love of my life.”

Then Rincon left for a Nabors drilling rig near his home in Pharr and never returned, falling victim to one of the state’s most deadly occupations.

Oil and gas field services and drilling workers were killed on the job in Texas more than those in any other profession, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of five years of fatal accidents investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Read more of the Houston Chronicle’s investigative report at