Investigation finds 2 recycling companies failed to use fire safety plans to evacuate 9 workers as air rescue averts drilling platform tragedy
SABINE PASS, TX – A federal workplace investigation has found two companies’ failures to follow required safety standards endangered the lives of nine workers who found themselves trapped – nearly 30 stories high – atop a burning jack-up drilling platform decommissioned in the Anchorage Basin near a Sabine Pass shipyard.
On Feb. 25, 2022, welders employed by Carlos Arturo Guerrero LLC – operating as CAG Professional Services in Brownsville – were cutting parts for metal scrap on the main deck of the Pride Wisconsin drilling platform while employees of Houston-based PH Steel Inc. made electrical repairs when a fire began. Nine workers were unable to lower themselves and escape after the fire burned the platform’s generator wires. When it became clear that first responders could not reach the workers, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was summoned, and its crew completed the rescue.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined both companies failed to implement fire safety plans.
OSHA found CAG Professional Services had a written fire safety plan that addressed evacuation procedures from tall jack-up platforms, but did not use the plan when needed. The company faces $140,055 in proposed penalties. The agency cited PH Steel, which had no written fire safety plan, and proposed $72,511 in penalties.
“CAG Professional Services and PH Steel’s failure to implement a fire safety plan exposed workers to serious harm,” said OSHA Area Director Mark Briggs in Houston. “These companies are fortunate their non-compliance did not lead to tragedy when fire erupted on the Pride Wisconsin.”
“In an industry where workers face potentially serious and deadly hazards every day, employers must act quickly to safely evacuate workers and must ensure workers are trained on proper safety procedures,” Briggs added.
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of 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.
Learn more about OSHA maritime regulations.