H2S Death in Texas Prompts Fine

$152,100 in penalties were filed against Enbridge G&P (East Texas) LP, along with two alleged willful and five alleged serious violations, in connection with the death of Nalvester Maxie.

OSHA filed $152,100 in penalties against Enbridge G&P (East Texas) LP, along with two alleged willful and five alleged serious violations, in connection with a January 2010 hydrogen sulfide fatality from a chemical release at the company's gas treating plant near Bryans Mill, Texas. "Employees working around hazardous materials must be assured of a safe and healthful environment," said Stephen Boyd, OSHA's Dallas area director. "If this employer had developed and implemented safe work practices, as required by OSHA standards, it is possible this tragic incident could have been avoided."

OSHA began the investigation Jan. 10 and said four workers were replacing a faulty valve on a waste heat boiler in the sulfur plant when the incident occurred. An employee named Nalvester Maxie died and another worker was critically injured by the gas. The alleged willful violations were issued for failing to develop and implement safe work practices for workers who process equipment or piping or who are exposed to airborne H2S above 50 ppm and for failing to provide workers with respirators as required. The alleged serious violations included failing to review current operating procedures; to inform contract workers of the known potential fire, explosion, or toxic release hazards; and also to use flame-resistant clothing when breaking lines, valves, and/or opening equipment.

Enbridge, with more than 6,000 employees, transmits crude oil, liquids, and natural gas and owns and operates Canada's largest natural gas distribution system The company has 15 business days after receiving the citations to comply, request an informal conference with Boyd, or contest the case before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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