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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [03/13/2012]
Contact Name: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Release Number: 12-0440-DAK

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Carlson Well Service in Powers Lake, ND, for exposing workers to unsafe conditions at oil service rig

2 workers killed, 2 others seriously injured in explosion

BISMARCK, N.D. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Carlson Well Service Inc. in Powers Lake with three violations for exposing workers to unsafe conditions at an oil service rig. An inspection was opened after an explosion killed two workers and seriously injured two others.

One alleged willful violation is failing to ensure an auxiliary escape was installed on all land rigs. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Two alleged serious violations include failing to properly install a blow-out preventer and provide necessary personal protective equipment such as flame-resistant clothing. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"This employer demonstrated a tremendous indifference toward recognized industry hazards and accepted practices to ensure employee safety," said Tom Deutscher, OSHA's area director in Bismarck. "Unfortunately, it illustrates the tragic consequences that can result when workers are not protected from preventable hazards."

Proposed penalties for the violations total $84,000. Carlson Well Service has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Bismarck Area Office at 701-250-4521.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.