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Region 4 News Release: 09-1537-ATL (033)
Jan. 13, 2010
Contact: Michael D'Aquino     Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076     404-562-2078

US Labor Department's OSHA cites 3 companies for failing to protect workers' safety while constructing gas pipeline meter stations in Mississippi
July 2009 explosion at Midcontinent Express Pipeline site resulted in fatality and injuries

JACKSON, Miss. -- Three companies are being cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for exposing workers to hazards during the construction of gas pipeline meter stations in Mississippi. Mustang Engineering L.P., Grand Bluff Construction LLC and Priority Energy Services received citations for failing to protect their workers after one died and three others were critically injured.

OSHA began its investigation after a July 2009 explosion at a meter station construction site in Raleigh, Miss., killed one worker. A second Priority Energy Services worker was critically injured, along with two Grand Bluff Construction workers.

"This tragedy could have been avoided if the companies involved had followed government and industry standards when conducting their pressure tests," said Clyde Payne, director of OSHA's Jackson Area Office.

OSHA has cited Mustang Engineering with two willful violations for exposing workers to struck-by hazards while performing pressure tests. Grand Bluff Construction has been cited with one willful and three serious violations related to exposing workers to struck-by hazards and failing to provide adequate training. Priority Energy Services has been cited with two serious violations for also exposing workers to struck-by hazards and one serious violation for allowing the use of a stairway without a railing.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious citation is issued 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.

Proposed penalties for the three companies total $189,400, of which Mustang Engineering is receiving penalties of $112,500; Grand Bluff Construction, $67,900 and Priority Energy Services, $9,000.

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Jackson Area Office, 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210; telephone 601-965-4606.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit


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