Seven months after a January oil field explosion that resulted in the deaths of five Oklahoma workers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a report that blames Patterson-UTI Drilling, Crescent Consulting LLC and Skyline Directional Drilling LLC for the blast.
The companies were fined the maximum possible penalty of $118,643. The report concluded that two of the companies – Patterson-UTI and Crescent Consulting – failed to maintain proper controls during the drilling operations, including failure to inspect specific devices or to put emergency response plans in place. Both of those companies and Skyline Directional Drilling were cited for having used heat lamps that were not safety-rated for the conditions present on the site.
Referencing the ruling and the loss of life in the oil field explosion, a statement from Patterson-UTI read, “First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families and others impacted by the accident. We appreciate the important work OSHA undertakes to help ensure safe and healthy working conditions, and we have fully cooperated with the investigation.
We have carefully reviewed the citation, we disagree with its findings, and we have filed a notice of contest with OSHA. We remain committed to providing a safe working environment for our employees and others we work within the field.”
Safety Office Says Oil Field Explosion was Tragic Result of Failure to Control Hazards
The oil field explosion has resulted in several lawsuits having been filed against Patterson-UTI, and the company has also been fined almost $400,000 over the past decade as a result of dozens of over 100 different safety violations.
Speaking of the three companies’ failures, OSHA Oklahoma City area office director David Bates said, “These employers failed to control hazards involved in oil and gas extraction activities properly, and the result was tragic. Employers are required to monitor their operations to ensure workplace health and safety procedures are adequate and effective.”