OSHA fines three companies following investigation of Quinton rig explosion

Staff Report

On Jan. 22 2018, a rig west of Quinton, between the city and Featherston, suffered serious loss as the gas well caught fire and caused a massive explosion. Fire and smoke kept emergency services and first responders at bay for hours until it was safe for them to approach. Seventeen workers, who heard the explosion when it happened, managed to escape. One worker on top of the rig even used a guideline as a zipline to escape to safer grounds. The remains of five workers, who went missing during the explosion, were found the next day. Twenty six agencies in Pittsburg and neighboring counties responded to the accident, both during and after.

After the rig accident, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched an investigation to determine whether or not the companies over the drilling rig were responsible for the accident. On Monday, Aug. 13, it was determined by OSHA that the three companies connected to the rig had exposed the workers to dangerous work conditions and were fined more than $118,000, the maximum amount allowed by OSHA standards.

The three companies fined were Crescent Consulting of Oklahoma City, Patterson-UTI of Houston, and Oklahoma City's Skyline Directional Drilling. Findings by OSHA indicated that the former two had failed in providing the necessary maintenance of the proper controls required for drilling a well. The latter company was fined by OSHA for improper use of a heat lamp near the combustible opening of the well.

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