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09-901-PHI (osha 09-174)
Aug. 14, 2009
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
Phone: 215-861-5101

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA cites Union Drilling Inc. for workplace safety and health hazards

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Union Drilling Inc. for alleged workplace safety and health violations found at a New Salem, Pa., worksite. Penalties proposed total $54,600.

OSHA initiated its investigation on May 18 as part of its local emphasis program on oil and gas well operations. As a result of the investigation, the company has been cited with one repeat citation and a penalty of $28,100, one serious citation with a $26,500 penalty and one other-than-serious citation which carries no penalty.

The repeat citation contains five repeat violations including the company's failure to install a guardrail to prevent falls; provide eyewash and a deluge shower for emergencies when employees were working with a corrosive material; provide a fully charged, mounted fire extinguisher; and stored oxygen cylinders with combustible materials. OSHA issues a repeat violation when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order issued to the same employer within the previous three years.

The serious citation contains 10 serious violations including an improper hook/sling assembly; poor housekeeping; unsecured guardrails; no emergency action plan at the site; lack of safety glasses and impervious gloves; no potable water on site; defective slings; improper use and storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders; and no hazard communication training for employees on site. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

The other-than-serious citation contains two violations for failing to provide safety instruction signs and training first ai