Thursday, February 10, 2011

OSHA investigating Sullivan County gas worker fatality

As per the Towanda Daily Review:

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is investigating the death of a worker who suffered a traumatic injury on Jan. 14 at a Chesapeake Appalachia gas well site in Sullivan County.

The Chesapeake Appalachia gas well site where the traumatic injury occurred on Jan. 14, 2011 is located on Elsroy Hill Road in Fox Township in Sullivan County. The worker who was injured on Jan. 14 at Chesapeake Appalachia's Fox Township site was transported by helicopter to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, and he later died, Sullivan County Coroner Wendy Hastings confirmed.

He was pronounced dead by Montour County Coroner Scott Lynn, she said.

Hastings said she did not know the name of the worker who died.

A preliminary report from first responders at the scene was that the worker had suffered a traumatic head injury.

Chesapeake Energy has referred questions about the incident at the Fox Township site to Patterson-UTI Drilling Co., which is the company that the worker who died was working for. Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. was a contractor hired by Chesapeake Appalachia to work at the gas well site in Fox Township, according to Brian Grove, senior director for corporate development for Chesapeake Energy.

Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. has refused to provide any information to The Daily Review about the worker's death, saying in a written statement that Patterson-UTI Drilling "does not comment on confidential personnel matters involving individual employees."

In a separate section of the same article, the Review reported that Nomac drilling was fined $7,000.00 for safety violations related to a gas worker fatality in 2010 in Towanda Township. This amount of a fine does not seem like enough of a "sting" to Nomac's bottom line in order for them to change their practices. But it's at least something. In many, many instances, employers are not fined at all by OSHA, who is an overworked and under-funded agency.

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