OSHA opens investigation after 1 worker killed, 3 injured in oil well fire

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One worker has died and three others remain hospitalized after being injured in an oil well fire about eight miles east of Watford City, on June 18.

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Bismarck Area Office has opened an investigation into the incident.

Preliminary information indicates that Most Wanted Well Service and SEI Well Service were snubbing out a well when it ignited.

“OSHA extends its condolences to the family and friends of these workers. The gas and oil industry remains one of the most dangerous for workers in the nation. OSHA will be conducting a thorough investigation to see if any violations of safety procedures contributed to this tragic incident.” said Eric Brooks, OSHA’s Area Director in Bismarck.

Three of the injured were employed by Most Wanted Well Service. They include:

· The deceased, a 52-year-old well operator from Rock Springs, Wyoming, who had been on the job since August 2012.
· A 40-year-old supervisor hired in November 2014 who suffered burns to his face. He resides in Grand Junction, Colorado, and had been employed since November 2014.
· A 27-year-old lead hand from Rock Springs, Wyoming, suffered third degree burns over 70 percent of his body. He had been on the job since February 2014.

Additionally, a 28-year-old operator employed by Sherwood Enterprises Inc., suffered third degree burns over 70 percent of his body. The Fruita, Colorado resident had worked for the company since November 2013.