EL PASO, TX – Federal investigators found an oil and gas company employee suffered fatal exposure to hydrogen sulfide while working near a sump pit in September 2022.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Production Waste Solutions LLC for six serious safety and health violations after the agency found the production waste facility exposed employees to serious chemical hazards. The company is located about 175 miles east of El Paso.
At the time of the incident, the employee was skimming and suctioning out sludge water and oil byproducts from the pit. Specifically, OSHA cited the company for:
Exposing employees to inhalation hazards.
Not training employees on hazards associated with hydrogen sulfide exposure.
Failing to provide a quick body drench or eye flush station for employees in the immediate work area where corrosive materials were present.
Not performing a hazard assessment to determine if personal protective equipment was needed.
Failing to protect employees from fall hazards of more than 4 feet.
Not protecting employees from contacting energized circuits.
OSHA assessed $39,064 in proposed penalties, which are set by federal statute.
“Hydrogen sulfide exists in oil and gas deposits, and it occurs naturally in sewers, manure pits, well water and oil and gas wells, which is one of the reasons work in confined spaces is potentially dangerous,” explained OSHA Area Director Diego Alvarado in El Paso, Texas. “This terrible loss could have been prevented if Production Waste Solutions LLC had followed established safety procedures and provided federally required training and equipment.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Learn more about OSHA and how to protect workers from exposure to hydrogen sulfide.