Double Fatality at Texas Oil Rig Leads to $93,700 Fine

About five employees were performing drilling operations in the area when the kelly bushing came apart and fatally struck two employees working on the drill floor.

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 worksite near Lamesa, Texas, at Truitt Woods Field, Well No. 1, Rig No. 3. Proposed penalties total $93,700.

OSHA's Lubbock District Office 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.

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.

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. 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.

"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."

Big Spring, Texas-based Robinson Drilling employs about 500 workers nationwide.

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