Gas Well Driller Cited With Repeat OSHA Violations in Harrison County

by Duane Nichols on August 7, 2011

Regulators have fined Jay-Bee Oil & Gas more than $73,000 after finding the same kinds of violations in Harrison County that inspectors found a year ago when they visited the site.  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued 10 repeat citations, three serious citations and four other citations last week for problems at a drilling site near Salem.

“This company’s failure to correct previously cited violations means that it continues to place workers in harm’s way,” said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA’s Charleston area office. “It is vital that the company address these hazards to protect its employees.”

The repeat citations are based on an OSHA inspection conducted in February. They included the lack of guardrails or barricades around drilling pits, tripping hazards on walkways and the lack of first-aid equipment and training at the operation. OSHA inspectors also found that the company did not provide workers with required information or training about the hazardous materials used at the operation.

Jay-Bee Oil & Gas of Union, New Jersey,  has drilled dozens of wells in West Virginia.  The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

At least four workers have died at Marcellus Shale sites in Pennsylvania since 2008, including Kerry Duncan of Roane County, WV, who died on July 22nd. And, two of the three workers burned on February 10th at a Chesapeake drilling site in Washington County, PA, were West Virginians. In fact, there have been around 50 emergencies reported at Marcellus shale gas operations in Pennsylvania since 2008.  OSHA and the various companies of the natural gas industry are including safety training in many cases for their employees, given the dangerous nature of the work involved.

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Duane Nichols August 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Man Killed When Truck Plunges Over Hillside. One person was killed August 8th when a truck used in natural gas drilling crashed on US Route 250 in Marshall County. The crash happened in the area of South Highland Avenue in Moundsville just before noon.
Police said the truck was coming from a gas drilling site when it came around a turn, lost control, hit a guardrail and plunged over a hill about 80 to 100 feet. Sgt. Darren Whipkey said it is not clear how the driver lost control but said he doesn’t believe speed was a factor.
“There were some eyewitnesses that were behind him — he didn’t appear to be going too fast or anything like that,” he said. The truck was a vacuum-type truck that suctions waste from gas drilling sites. Officials said it was hauling waste from a gas drilling site in the county and was heading to to the Wetzel County Landfill at the time of the crash.
Officials said the truck had residual waste from the drilling site and some byproducts from the drilling process, but they were not exactly sure what was inside the truck because the paperwork didn’t have anything specific listed on it. Officials said the crash is considered a hazardous materials incident but there is no danger to the public.
Fire Chief Noel Clarke said the truck was leaking some sort of liquid, but the leak had stopped by afternoon. Officials said they are assessing any liquid chemicals that could have potentially leaked from the truck.
“We are concerned that there could be some product left in that tank, so we are going to see and check into that and maybe offload that before we can lift up the truck and have it hauled out,” Clarke said.
Moundsville police and fire officials were the first to respond, and the highway was closed in all directions in the vicinity of the crash for about an hour. Police had not released the identity of the victim as of 3:15 p.m. pending notification of all family members. Officials did not say which company the victim worked for.


Duane Nichols August 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Driver Killed When Drilling Truck Overturns In PA. LIBERTY TWP. – State police in Susquehanna County are investigating a two-vehicle crash that killed a 57-year-old man from Brackney Friday evening.
State police said a commercial truck driven by James Robert Hoffpauir, 50, of Montgomery, Texas, overturned onto a Subaru Legacy at the intersection of Laurel Lake Road and state Route 29 at about 6:50 p.m. The driver of the Subaru, John Jones III, was killed. Both an unnamed 17-year-old passenger of Jones’, as well as Hoffpauir, were moderately injured, state police said.
The truck is owned by Casa Grande, Ariz.-based Southeast Directional Drilling LLC.


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