Safety Fines after Oil Worker Death

Monday, April 29, 2013 @ 07:04 PM gHale


After a worker died after being caught in the agitator of an oil field vacuum truck storage tank, First Choice Energy of Minot, ND, faces $33,000 in fines for nine serious safety violations for exposing workers to unsafe conditions at an oil field drilling and fluid disposal operation in Stanley, ND, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“First Choice Energy failed to develop and implement the most basic of confined space and energy control safety protocols,” said Eric Brooks, OSHA’s area director in Bismarck. “Companies have a responsibility to recognize–and train their workers to recognize–hazards unique to their job sites in addition to protecting workers from such hazards.”

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The incident occurred March 14.

Five of the nine citations involve violations of OSHA’s confined space requirements, including lack of atmospheric testing, permitting, signs and emergency response procedures.

Other citations involve not properly protecting workers from open pit fall hazards, lack of energy control and lockout/tagout procedures and equipment, failing to conduct annual inspections of energy control procedures and to train workers on such procedures. 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.

A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not for continuous employee occupancy. Confined space hazards have very specific standards.



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