Safety Mishap Causes Oil Worker Death

Monday, June 24, 2013 @ 10:06 AM gHale

Heller Casing is facing a $14,000 fine for two general duty clause safety violations after a worker was fatally crushed Jan. 31 while installing casing pipe on an oil rig in McKenzie County, ND, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

The incident occurred when the worker ended up struck by an improperly secured load that fell, causing fatal injuries.

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“Heller Casing has a responsibility to protect oil rig workers from struck-by and other hazards in this dangerous industry,” said Eric Brooks, OSHA’s area director in Bismarck. “No job should cost a person’s life because an employer failed to properly protect and train workers.”

OSHA cited two serious violations directly related to the fatality that involved failing to protect workers from struck-by and crushing hazards by properly securing the hook used to suspend a load, which consisted of power tongs and accurately positioning the suspension cable. The power tongs became snagged on the traveling block as it was being elevated, OSHA said. The tongs loosened from the block after going up about 15 feet and fell on the victim, OSHA said.

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.

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