Drilling Firm Faces OSHA Fines

Thursday, November 10, 2011 @ 10:11 PM gHale


Robinson Drilling of Texas Ltd. is facing eight serious, four repeat and 11 other-than-serious safety and health violations following the death of two workers at the company’s work site near Lamesa, TX, at Truitt Woods Field, Well No. 1, Rig No. 3, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

On June 11 five employees were performing drilling operations in the area when the kelly bushing, a device that when fitted into the master bushing transmits torque and simultaneously permits vertical movement to make a hole, came apart and fatally struck two employees working on the drill floor, OSHA officials said.

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One serious violation related to the incident was for failing to prevent “struck-by” injuries, which OSHA said the company could have prevented had the employer adhered to industry practices as enforced by OSHA under the general duty clause.

The remaining serious violations include failing to provide covers on floor holes to prevent trip hazards, ensure a fully-charged self-contained breathing apparatus, ensure that work surfaces are clean and dry, ensure stacked materials remain blocked to prevent materials from moving when placed on a rack and ensure flexible cords see proper use. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The repeat violations include failing to complete the OSHA 301 form; failing to establish a written respiratory protection program and failing to provide strain relief for flexible cords. A repeat violation exists when OSHA previously cited an employer for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in 2007 and 2011.

The other-than-serious violations involve failing to properly complete the OSHA 300 logs for recording injuries and illnesses. Another-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

“Two workers lost their lives because Robinson Drilling allowed serious hazards to exist in the workplace,” said Joann Figueroa, OSHA’s area director in El Paso. “It is the employer’s responsibility to follow OSHA standards and ensure that work environments free from all unnecessary hazards.”

Proposed penalties total $93,700. Big Spring, Texas-based Robinson Drilling, employs 500 workers nationwide.



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