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Region 6 News Release: 11-1255-DAL
Sept. 26, 2011
Contact: Elizabeth Todd   Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710   972-850-4709
Email: todd.elizabeth@dol.gov   rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Snyder, Texas, drilling company
for serious and repeat violations of safety and health standards

ODESSA, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. LLC for four serious and two repeat safety violations. OSHA's El Paso Area Office opened an inspection at the company's Aunt Bee Well No. 15, Rig No. 80 work site in Odessa as part of its Oil and Gas Regional Emphasis Program. Inspectors found that employees were exposed to various hazards while drilling for oil without the required safeguards. Proposed penalties total $72,600.

"This company repeatedly has exposed its workers to a variety of safety violations that could easily cause serious injuries," said Diego Alvarado, OSHA's acting area director in El Paso. "It is the employer's responsibility to keep the workplace safe."

The serious violations involve failing to protect employees from "caught–between" and "struck–by" hazards, periodically inspect fire extinguishers and properly guard industrial machines. 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 include failing to keep electrical equipment free from recognized hazards and to utilize proper grounding procedures. A repeat violation exists 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 April 2007 and May 2011.

Patterson–UTI Drilling, which employs about 6,000 workers nationwide, is a division of Houston–headquartered Patterson–UTI Energy Inc. The company 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 Area Office at 915-534-6251 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.

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.

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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.


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