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Region 8 News Release: 13-1168-DAK
June 20, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen     Rhonda Burke
Phone:      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov     burke.rhonda@dol.gov

Heller Casing in Williston, ND, cited after worker fatally crushed on oil rig;
US Labor Department's OSHA finds 2 violations during investigation

WILLISTON, N.D. – Heller Casing has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two general duty clause safety violations after a worker was fatally crushed Jan. 31 while installing casing pipe on an oil rig in McKenzie County. The incident occurred when the worker was struck by an improperly secured load that fell, causing fatal injuries.

"Heller Casing has a responsibility to protect oil rig workers from struck-by and other hazards in this dangerous industry," said Eric Brooks, OSHA's area director in Bismarck. "No job should cost a person's life because an employer failed to properly protect and train workers."

OSHA cited two serious violations directly related to the fatality that involved failing to protect workers from struck-by and crushing hazards by properly securing the hook used to suspend a load, which consisted of power tongs and accurately positioning the suspension cable. The power tongs allegedly became snagged on the traveling block as it was being elevated. The tongs loosened from the block after being elevated about 15 feet and fell on the victim.

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.

Proposed fines total $14,000. Heller Casing has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, 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 Bismarck Area Office at 701-250-4521.

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 exist 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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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