Fracking Disposal Firm Faces Safety Fines

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 @ 10:05 AM gHale

High Roller Wells Pearsall SWD No. 1 Ltd. is facing $46,200 in fines for 10 serious safety violations following an explosion and fire that injured three workers at the company’s Pearsall, TX, work site, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

The company disposes of hydraulic fracturing fluid and employs 34 workers at the site. At the time of the incident, employees were injecting wastewater underground left over from hydraulic fracturing and drilling operations.

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The violations include failing to ensure workers have fall protection while working on the tops of tanks, ensure equipment and electrical wiring rate for the environment they being used, take necessary precautions to prevent possible ignition sources such as sparks or static electricity, conduct a workplace hazard assessment to determine the appropriate personal protective equipment needed, ensure there is an emergency action plan in place and provide an eyewash station for employees working around acids. 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.

“Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees are provided a workplace free from recognized hazards,” said Jeff Funke, the agency’s area director in San Antonio. “If OSHA’s standards had been followed, it is possible this unfortunate incident could have been avoided.”

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