Hazardous Gas Fines for Energy Firm

Friday, May 1, 2015 @ 05:05 PM gHale

J&M Energy Services is facing $60,900 in fines for failing to protect workers from contacting hazardous hydrogen sulfide gas at the well site in Odessa, TX, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA began the investigation in January, as part of the agency’s new reporting requirements for in-patient hospitalization of an employee.

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The investigation by OSHA’s Lubbock Area Office resulted in a willful health citation issued for failing to protect workers from contacting hazardous hydrogen sulfide gas at the well site. Hydrogen sulfide is a flammable, colorless gas with a characteristic odor of rotten eggs, which can be fatal if inhaled at certain concentrations. In addition, hydrogen sulfide gas burns and produces other toxic vapors and gases, such as sulfur dioxide.

Workers received direction to go into the area that contained the gas even though warning monitors indicated a hazard. As a result, one worker suffered severe health effects requiring hospital treatment.

There was a serious violation for failing to provide workers with the required personal protective equipment, in this case, respirators.

“Requiring employees to work in an area that presents a known hazard such as hydrogen sulfide gas is a blatant disregard for the workers’ health and safety. Such disregard will not be tolerated,” said Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA’s area director in Lubbock. “J&M Energy Services did not take the necessary steps required to keep workers safe, and as a consequence a worker was unnecessarily injured.”

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