April 30, 2015
J&M Energy Services fined $60K for exposing workers to hazardous gas
Employer name: J&M Energy Services
Inspection Site: Odessa, Texas
Date inspection initiated and what prompted the inspection: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began the investigation in January, as part of the agency's new reporting requirements for in-patient hospitalization of an employee.
Investigation findings: 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 were directed 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. A serious violation was also cited for failing to provide workers with the required personal protective equipment, in this case, respirators.
Proposed Penalty: $60,900
Quote: "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."
Information: J&M Energy Services, an energy services company that provides well servicing to the oil and gas industry, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contests the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Release Number: 15-732-DAL
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