Texas Employer Fined Following Drilling Deaths of 2 Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Robinson Drilling of Texas Ltd. for eight serious, four repeat and 11 other-than-serious safety and health violations following the death of two workers at the company's work site near Lamesa at Truitt Woods Field, Well No. 1, Rig No. 3.

 
According to a report from OSHA's Lubbock District Office, the agency began its investigation of the incident on June 11. About five employees were performing drilling operations in the area when the kelly bushing, a device that when fitted into the master bushing transmits torque and simultaneously permits vertical movement to make a hole, came apart and fatally struck two employees working on the drill floor. (WCxKit)
 
 
One serious violation related to the incident was cited for failing to prevent "struck-by" injuries, which could have been prevented had the employer adhered to industry practices as enforced by OSHA under the general duty clause.
 
 
The remaining serious violations include failing to provide covers on floor holes to prevent trip hazards, ensure that self-contained breathing apparatus are fully charged, ensure that work surfaces are clean and dry, ensure that stacked materials are blocked to prevent materials from moving when placed on a rack and ensure that flexible cords are used properly. 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 complete the OSHA 301 form; failing to establish a written respiratory protection program and failing to provide strain relief for flexible cords. 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 2007 and 2011.
 
 
The other-than-serious violations involve failing to properly complete the OSHA 300 logs for recording injuries and illnesses. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
 
 
"Two workers lost their lives because Robinson Drilling allowed serious hazards to exist in the workplace," said Joann Figueroa, OSHA's area director in El Paso. "It is the employer's responsibility to follow OSHA standards and ensure that work environments are free from all unnecessary hazards." (WCxKit)
 
 
Proposed penalties total $93,700. Big Spring, Texas-based Robinson Drilling, which employs about 500 workers nationwide, has 15 business days from receipt of these 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.

Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

NEW 2012 WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact rshafer@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
 

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