Safety Advocate’s “Dirty Dozen” List of Unsafe Firms Includes Drilling Firm where 5 workers died

A national workplace safety advocacy group has named the drilling company where five workers died in a January explosion in southeast Oklahoma to its so-called “Dirty Dozen” list for unsafe practices.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health listed Patterson UTI Energy of Houston, Texas because of the 110 reported OSHA violations and the deaths of 13 workers over the past decade. Five of those workers died Jan. 22 when a gas-drilling rig exploded and burned near Quinton.

The Dirty Dozen 2018 report is released in observance of Workers’ Memorial Week. It honors workers who lost their lives on the job as well as those who suffered workplace injuries and illnesses.

The report cited a five-year increase in workplace deaths including a 12 percent jump since 2012.

“It’s heartbreaking to see workers lose their lives when we know these tragedies could have been prevented,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of National COSH. “Time and again, employers are warned about unsafe conditions. When companies fail to correct safety hazards, it is workers who pay the ultimate price.”

The “Dirty Dozen” for 2018 are:

Amazon – Seattle, Washington: Seven workers killed at Amazon warehouses since 2013 – including three workers within five weeks at three separate locations in 2017.

Case Farms – Troutman, North Carolina: 74 OSHA violations per 1,000 employees – more than four times higher than any other poultry firm.

Dine Brands Global, Inc. (IHOP and Applebee’s) – Glendale, California: Demands for sex, groping, threats of violence against workers. More than 60 complaints about sexual and harassment and abuse.

JK Excavating – Mason, Ohio: 25-year-old Zachary Hess, buried alive in December 2017. The company was previously cited three times by OSHA for failure to protect workers from trench collapse.

Lowe’s Home Improvement – Mooresville, North Carolina: 56 U.S. deaths are linked to exposure to paint strippers containing methylene chloride, including 17 workers who died while refinishing bathtubs. The retail giant still sells products with this deadly substance, despite appeals from workers, consumers and families.

Lynnway Auto Auction – Billerica, Massachusetts: Five dead in preventable auto crash – including a 37-year-old mom working her first day on the job. Lynnway was cited by OSHA and warned of vehicle safety hazards in 2014.

New York and Atlantic Railway – New York, New York: Workers suffer amputation, brain injury and impaired vision. Immigrants workers face racial slurs and other discrimination, and do not have proper safety training or equipment.

Patterson UTI Energy – Houston, Texas: Five workers dead in an explosion in Quinton, Oklahoma. 110 OSHA violations and 13 workers dead in the past decade.

Sarbanand Farms – Sumas, Washington: Farm worker dies after complaining of headaches. 70 co-workers go on strike to protest unsafe conditions and are immediately fired, then evicted from company housing.

Tesla Motors – Fremont, California: Recordable injuries are 31% higher than industry average; serious injuries are 83% higher. Company claims recent improvement in injury rates, but CAL/OSHA now investigating reports that the company failed to report serious injuries.

Verla International – New Windsor, New York: Explosion kills a worker at cosmetics plant. Company previously cited for poor handling of chemicals that led to deadly blaze; safety consultant says disaster was “easily preventable.”

Waste Management – Houston, Texas: 23-year-old worker killed at a recycling facility. Company failed to lockout/tagout machinery during repairs.