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Region 6 News Release: 14-48-DAL
Feb. 4, 2014
Contact: Diana Petterson      Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710      972-850-4709
Email: petterson.diana@dol.gov      rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

Gem Drilling Co. Inc. cited by US Labor Department's OSHA for 19
violations at its Sagerton, Texas, work site; fines total $46,900

EL PASO, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Stamford-based Gem Drilling Co. Inc. for 19 safety and health violations involving a variety of hazards. Proposed penalties total $46,900.

OSHA's El Paso Area Office inspected the facility in November 2013 as part of the agency's Oil and Gas Regional Emphasis Program, which is designed to prevent fatalities and other catastrophic events at oil drilling and gas wells.

"Inspectors found 13 workers at risk of potential injuries from preventable workplace hazards, including unsecured stairs and missing guardrails, electrical deficiencies and poor housekeeping," said Joann Figueroa, OSHA's area director in El Paso. "OSHA's standards must be followed to keep workers safe."

Serious violations include failing to provide guardrails for workers on platforms 7 feet above the ground; maintain a derrick ladder in safe condition; properly guard machinery; and use electrical components in a manner that complies with safety requirements. Other serious violations include failing to ensure equipment is effectively grounded; properly maintain exposed electrical circuits; provide workers with toilet facilities; and maintain the workplace in a sanitary condition. 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.

Information on hazards, standards, enforcement, resources and OSHA assistance for employers and employees in the oil and gas industry is available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/oilgaswelldrilling/index.html.

Gem Drilling Co. Inc., which employs 33 workers, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's El Paso 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 El Paso office at 915-534-6251.

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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.


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