US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Midland, Texas, drilling company
following worker's death at Garden City, Texas-area work site
GARDEN CITY, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Midland-based Trinidad Drilling LP for three serious and two repeat violations following the fatal electrocution of a worker at the company's job site near Garden City on County Road 125.
OSHA's El Paso Area Office initiated its inspection on Feb. 8 after receiving notification that an employee was electrocuted while pumping water from the well cellar underneath an oil rig's substructure.
"This is not the first time this company has exposed its employees to preventable workplace hazards," said Zachary Barnett, OSHA's area director in El Paso. "If the company had followed OSHA's safety standards, it is possible this tragic accident could have been avoided."
The serious violations involve failing to ensure that listed or labeled equipment was used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions; failing to ground an electric water pump; and ensure that the electrical ground wiring inside an electrical starter box was properly secured. 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 repeat violations involve failing to ensure that flexible electrical cords were properly spliced and failing to inspect flexible cords and/or related electrical equipment. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in March and September 2008 as well as March 2009.
Trinidad Drilling, which employs about 400 workers throughout the U.S., was fined $91,000 in proposed penalties. It has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in El Paso or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's El Paso office at 915-534-6251. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.