Dugan & Associates, P.C.
No Recovery - No FeeFree Consultation
Serving all of Western Pennsylvania
Local: 412-353-3572 Toll Free: 888-9-9-D-U-G-A-N Toll Free: 888-9-9-D-U-G-A-N

OSHA: lack of burn protection contributed to oil workers' injuries

Last August, a gas well fire in part of the Marcellus Shale formation in West Virginia seriously injured three workers. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has assessed a fine against the responsible company, a nationwide oil and gas company called Hall Drilling, LLC, for putting its workers at serious risk. In fact, OSHA found two serious workplace safety violations that likely contributed directly to the serious burns and other workplace injuries the three employees suffered.

According to press reports, a spark from the well ignited methane gas that was underground. It sent a giant fireball into the air, which set off a blaze on the floor of the gas rig that burned for an hour. All three of the injured workers had to be hospitalized for their burns -- two of them had to be airlifted.

"The hazardous nature of oil and gas drilling operations requires employers to find and fix the hazards. In this case, ensuring the use of proper personal protective equipment, such as flame-resistant clothing, could have helped in protecting the workers," the director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office said in a statement.

Failing to provide the workers with flame-retardant clothing at a potentially explosive natural gas well is, as OSHA says, is a serious violation. In OSHA parlance, a serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that the hazard could cause serious injuries or death and that the employer knew or should have known about.

The other violation, also considered serious, was Hall Drilling's failure to protect its workers from flash fires like this one, which are unfortunately hard to predict or prevent in natural gas fracking. Apparently, workers on the rig were directly exposed to the explosion, fireball and fire.

OSHA proposes to fine the company $12,600, which will be in addition to any workers' compensation payments made to the three men for their workplace injuries. By law, Hall Drilling has 15 days to contest the fine and citations.

Sources:

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Pittsburgh Office
4 West Manilla Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 412-922-0800
Fax: 412-922-0801
Pittsburgh Law Office Map

Beaver County Office
2002 McMinn St.
Aliquippa, PA 15001

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-775-7372
Aliquippa Law Office Map

North Hills
6400 Brooktree Ct.
Wexford, PA 15090

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-933-0133
Wexford Law Office Map

Butler County
125 Warrendale-Bayle Rd
Warrendale, PA 15086

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-283-7063
Map & Directions

Monroeville
400 Penn Center Blvd.
Suite 101
Monroeville, PA 15232

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 412-261-1129
Map & Directions

Westmoreland County
101 N. Main St.
Suite 104 - A
Greensburg, PA 15601

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-836-7454
Greensburg Law Office Map

Washington County
2400 Ansys Dr.
Canonsburg, PA 15317

Phone: 412-353-3572
Phone: 724-743-0463
Canonsburg Law Office Map

Serving all of Western Pennsylvania Free Consultation