Explosion at Texas Worksite Leads to $46,200 OSHA Fine

At the time of the incident, employees were injecting wastewater underground that was left over from hydraulic fracturing and drilling operations.

OSHA has cited High Roller Wells Pearsall SWD No. 1 Ltd. for 10 serious safety violations following an explosion and fire that injured three workers at the company's Pearsall, Texas, worksite. Proposed penalties total $46,200 following an inspection by OSHA's San Antonio Area Office that was opened on Jan. 20.

The company disposes of hydraulic fracturing fluid and employs about 34 workers at the site. At the time of the incident, employees were injecting wastewater underground that was left over from hydraulic fracturing and drilling operations.

The violations include failing to ensure that workers are provided with fall protection while working on the tops of tanks, ensure that equipment and electrical wiring are rated for the environment in which they are being used, take necessary precautions to prevent possible ignition sources such as sparks or static electricity, conduct a workplace hazard assessment to determine the appropriate personal protective equipment needed, ensure that there is an emergency action plan in place, and provide an eyewash station for employees working around acids.

"Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees are provided a workplace free from recognized hazards," said Jeff Funke, the agency's area director in San Antonio. "If OSHA's standards had been followed, it is possible this unfortunate incident could have been avoided."

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    March 2021

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