The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Big Spring-based Robinson Drilling for eight serious, four repeat and 11 other-than-serious safety and health violations following the June 11 death of two workers at the company’s work site near Lamesa.
OSHA’s Lubbock District Office began its investigation of the incident June 11. About five employees were performing drilling operations at Truitt Woods Field, Well No. 1, Rig No. 3 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.
Jason Bolt, 25, and Sandy Daves, 28, were killed in the accident. Members of both men’s families voiced outrage following the accident, saying the rig was being operated within a day of the accident.
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; ensuring self-contained breathing apparatus are fully charged; ensuring work surfaces are clean and dry; ensuring stacked materials are blocked to prevent materials from moving when placed on a rack; and ensuring 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.
According to OSHA officials, 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, according to OSHA officials
“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 free from all unnecessary hazards.”
Proposed penalties total $93,700. Big Spring-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.
The announced penalties come a little more than a month after OSHA announced similar penalties — totaling $130,900 — Oct. 4 following a series of violations at the same work site.
Robinson has been investigated several times in the past two years. In June of 2010, two Robinson Drilling employees were rushed to Midland Memorial Tuesday following an accident at a oil derrick located 10 miles north of Midland in Glasscock County.
In April 2010, William Ryan Locke, 35, died following an oil rig drilling accident at a Robinson Drilling location between Midland and Gardendale. Locke was believed to have been working from a ladder on the drilling rig when a piece of high pressure pipe broke away, releasing enough pressure in the Big Spring man’s direction to knock him from the ladder and platform.
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