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Region 8 News Release: 12-440-DAK
March 13, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

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