Firm Hit with $152,100 Fine for Hazards at Two Texas Oil Rigs

The investigation found that platforms were not properly guarded, emergency escape lines were kinked, and eye wash stations did not function properly, among other hazards.

OSHA has cited Houston-based Nabors Drilling USA L.P. with three serious, four repeat, and three alleged other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to numerous safety and health hazards at one oil rig drilling site in the city of Beaumont and a second in Liberty County. Proposed penalties total $152,100.

OSHA's Houston North Area Office began its investigation of both rigs on Nov. 17, 2011, as part of the agency's regional emphasis program on the oil and gas industry, and it found that platforms were not properly guarded, emergency escape lines were kinked, and eye wash stations did not function properly, among other hazards.

The serious violations include failing to follow manufacturers' safety requirements for emergency escape lines, provide guardrails on walkways next to hazardous equipment, and adequately maintain a derrick ladder.

The repeat violations include failing to guard floor holes, provide a guardrail system or equivalent fall protection at other openings, and provide access to emergency eyewash and shower stations. Similar violations were cited at a Corpus Christi oil rig in 2009.

The other-than-serious violations include failing to ensure the proper use of electrical equipment and maintain the required injury and illness record-keeping logs.

"The hazardous nature of oil and gas operations requires employers to take aggressive and comprehensive practices toward workplace safety and health," said David Doucet, OSHA's Houston North area director. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure that employees are protected from possible injuries and illnesses."

Nabors Drilling employs about 7,000 workers nationwide.

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