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Region 6 News Release: 12-733-DAL
April 24, 2012
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 Pearsall, Texas, oil and gas services
company for serious violations following explosion that injured 3 workers

PEARSALL, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited High Roller Wells Pearsall SWD No. 1 Ltd. for 10 serious safety violations following an explosion and fire that injured three workers at the company's Pearsall work site.

The company disposes of hydraulic fracturing fluid and employs about 34 workers at the site, which is located at 3155 Spur 581. At the time of the incident, employees were injecting wastewater underground that was left over from hydraulic fracturing and drilling operations.

The violations include failing to ensure that workers are provided with fall protection while working on the tops of tanks, ensure that equipment and electrical wiring are rated for the environment in which they are being used, take necessary precautions to prevent possible ignition sources such as sparks or static electricity, conduct a workplace hazard assessment to determine the appropriate personal protective equipment needed, ensure that there is an emergency action plan in place and provide an eyewash station for employees working around acids. 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.

"Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees are provided a workplace free from recognized hazards," said Jeff Funke, the agency's area director in San Antonio. "If OSHA's standards had been followed, it is possible this unfortunate incident could have been avoided."

Proposed penalties total $46,200 following an inspection by OSHA's San Antonio Area Office that was opened on Jan. 20. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's San Antonio Area Office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321- OSHA (6742) or the agency's San Antonio Area Office at 210-472-5040.

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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