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Energy firms cited after pipeline fire deaths

Energy firms cited after pipeline fire deaths

U.S. workplace safety regulators have cited and proposed penalties totaling $79,004 against two energy companies after two employees suffered fatal burns from a fire at a gas pipeline.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Denver-based DCP Midstream L.P. and Oklahoma City-based Complete Energy Services Inc. after an incident in which the employees were clearing a blockage in a gas pipeline operated by DCP Midstream and the fire occurred, according to an agency statement issued Wednesday. OSHA investigators determined that flammable vapors or gases from a vacuum truck leaked, igniting the pipeline.

The agency cited both companies for failing to control potential ignition sources in a work area, isolate hazardous energy sources using lockout procedures and train employees on detecting flammable hydrocarbons.

“The employer could have prevented this tragedy by taking appropriate precautions to prevent contact between flammable materials and potential ignition sources,” Herb Gibson, OSHA Denver area office director, said in the statement.

“This was a tragic accident,” a DCP spokesperson said in a statement. “Nothing is more important to DCP Midstream than our core value of safety and we work tirelessly to ensure all employees and contractors go home safely each day, which did not happen. We are always working on improving our safety processes and procedures and have fully cooperated with OSHA’s investigation. We are in the process of reviewing the citation now, and plan to prepare a response. Consistent with OSHA’s legal procedures, we look forward to our upcoming informal conference with OSHA, where we will discuss our safety and operations processes, and provide additional information to the agency.”




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