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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201051992 - Two Employees Injured When Oil Well Caught Fire

Accident: 201051992 -- Report ID: 0950642 -- Event Date: 01/11/1999
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12606551501/12/19991311Commerce Natural Resources
At 2:15 p.m. on January 11, 1999, Employee #1, the site supervisor and part owner of Commerce Nature Resources (CNR), was completing work on the UP-7 oil and gas well drilling rig located in the CNR yard. Employee #1 was using an oxygen/acetylene torch to cut the notches for tie-downs on the front of the pumping unit. After completing the notching, Employee #1 spent approximately 15 minutes installing and tightening bolts on the unit's base through the holes that were cut by the oxygen/acetylene torch. Employee #2 verbally notified Employee #1 that a previously scheduled rig was preparing to move into position to repair the UP-7 well. To prepare the well for the placement of the rig required the removal of the pipelines that carried the fluid oil, water, and natural gas from the wellhead to the processing facility. The standard oil field procedure for performing this work is to isolate these valves, vent the trapped pressure to the atmosphere, then unscrew the threaded unions and remove the piping. When Employee #2 was performing all of the isolation tasks he was also in the process of venting the gas pressure. Employee #1 recognized that he had left his hand tools on the base of the pumping unit. They were located approximately four feet from Employee #2's position at the bleeder valve. His hand tools consisted of a hammer, chisel, screw driver, tape measure and a striker, the device used to ignite the oxygen/acetylene torch. During the process of bleeding the gas pressure, Employee #1 picked up the striker and possibly other items in his left hand and then began to switch tools to his right hand while he picked up other tools. At this moment, he inadvertently squeezed the striker. It created an ignition source, which ignited the venting gas in the atmosphere. The accident was caused by the striker acting as the ignition source. Employee #1 and Employee #2 were both seriously burned and were hospitalized.
Keywords: burn, acetylene torch, venting, fire, welding, oil rig
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 126065515 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
2 126065515 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported

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