Worker Fatally Struck on Drilling Derrick, Firm Fined $53,900

OSHA's Corpus Christi Area Office initiated an investigation Nov. 27, 2010, after an employee setting up a rig was struck and killed by a section of the track for the drive system on the drilling derrick.

OSHA has cited Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. LLC for one repeat and two serious safety violations following the death of a worker at the company's site near Cotulla, Texas. Proposed penalties total $53,900.

OSHA's Corpus Christi Area Office initiated an investigation Nov. 27, 2010, after an employee setting up a rig was struck and killed by a section of the track for the drive system on the drilling derrick. About 13 workers were present at the drilling site, located 8.2 miles west of Cotulla. Snyder, Texas-based Patterson-UTI Drilling employs about 400 workers, and conducts oil and gas well drilling and well servicing operations.

"The seriousness of these hazards is simply not an acceptable condition in the workplace," said Michael Rivera, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The alleged repeat violation is for failing to guard open-sided floors to prevent employees from falling. In April 2007, OSHA cited this company with a similar violation resulting in penalties of $5,000.

Serious alleged violations include failing to inspect drive track guide lifting pins for signs of damage, secure the drive track to the lifting device, and provide fall protection.

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