Oil Driller Faces Safety Fines

Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 03:04 PM gHale

Gillette, WY-based Cyclone Drilling Inc. is facing $65,600 in fines for two repeat, five serious, and one other than serious violation of safety and health standards in exposing workers on an oil drilling rig in Ray, ND, to electrical, fire and fall hazards, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

OSHA inspected Cyclone Drilling under the OSHA Bismarck Area Office’s Problem Solving Initiative, which aims to prevent injuries and fatalities while also raising the safety and health awareness of employers in the oil drilling and construction activities of North Dakota’s western region.

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The repeat violations include exposing employees to a potential 26-foot fall hazard as they worked on the drilling floor next to an open V-door, the area where workers bring drill pipe sections onto the drilling floor, and a non-functional eye wash station used to prevent injury in the event of corrosive materials entering the eyes. A repeat citation occurs when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, or rule at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Cyclone Drilling received a citation for an open side platform in 2008 at a Lambert, MT, facility and for a violation related to an eye wash station in Meeker, CO, in 2010.

The serious violations include failing to install connecting pins in the derrick, repair damaged stairs, provide an operable fire extinguisher, guard rotating machinery parts, provide electrical covers, and repair or replace damaged and improperly strung flexible cords. 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 hazards discovered during this inspection are well-recognized within the industry and easily can be corrected to protect employees from needless injuries,” said Tom Deutscher, director of OSHA’s Bismarck Area Office.

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