OSHA Finds Anadarko and 3 Other Firms at Fault Over Deadly Tank Battery Blast in Colorado

With the Oklahoma drilling rig explosion that claimed the lives of five men last week near Quinton fresh in the minds of the oil and gas industry, the federal government has cited four oil and gas industry employers over a deadly 2017 blast in Colorado.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Energes Services LLC, Dominguez Welding LLC and Unlimited Services LLC. OSHA cited them for exposing workers to health and safety hazards at an oil and gas tank battery construction project. The firms could face $70,711 in proposed penalties.

One worker was killed in an explosion and fire and three others suffered third-degree burns in the May 2017 incident near Mead, Colorado. The workers were merging two tank batteries into a single tank battery operated by Anadarko.  OSHA inspectors found that flammable vapors or gases ignited as the employees worked near pipes connected to a crude oil tank.

OSHA cited the employers for introducing potential ignition sources into work areas containing flammable gases or vapors; not isolating flammable gases or vapors from welding activity; and not adequately inspecting the worksite and addressing safety hazards including an excavation.

Each company has held an informal conference with OSHA’s Denver Area Office to discuss and attempt to resolve the citations.

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