Cal/OSHA Completes Oil Field Investigation: Cites Pride Petroleum Service Company and Dowell Schlumberger, Inc. in Fatal Accident

SAN FRANCISCO--The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) today issued seven citations to Pride Petroleum Service Company, Inc. and eight citations to Dowell Schlumberger, Inc. for serious violations of state workplace safety regulations. The citations resulted from an investigation of the August 10, 1994 oil field accident near Ventura in which three employees of Pride Petroleum Service were killed and four employees of Schlumberger were injured.

Both companies were cited for 1) failing to ensure that ventilation in the area where employees were working was adequate so that they were not exposed to a hazardous concentration of a noxious airborne contaminant; 2) permitting employees to enter and remain in a confined space that was not free of a noxious airborne contaminant, for not ensuring that the employees wore approved respiratory protective equipment and for not testing the atmosphere in the confined space to determine if it was in fact free of airborne contamination; 3) for employees not wearing an approved safety belt with an attached life line; 4) for not providing at least two "stand-bys" with approved respiratory equipment outside of the confined

space; 5) for failing to provide employees with approved respiratory protective equipment during the rescue operations; 6) for failure to provide a safe means of entry and egress to the cellar of the well in accordance with good engineering practice, and; 7) for failing, under the requirements of the companies' injury and illness prevention programs, to properly train employees in what to do in the event of a confined space emergency, failure to evacuate exposed personnel from an imminent hazard or provide employees necessary to correct the condition with the necessary safeguards such as respiratory protection and safety harnesses.

In addition to the above citations, Dowell Schlumberger, Inc. received an eighth citation for failure to ensure that all employees were trained in the need, use, sanitary care and limitations of respirators that the employees may have occasion to use.

Total civil penalties assessed against Pride Petroleum Service Company, Inc. totaled $45,375, while those assessed to Dowell Schlumberger, Inc. totaled $48,750.

California law provides that the employers may appeal Cal/OSHA citations and penalties within 15 working days to the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board in Sacramento.

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