Colorado Employers Cited in Fatal Explosion at Oil and Gas Facility

Denver, CO – OSHA has cited four employers – Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Energes Services LLC, Dominguez Welding LLC, and Unlimited Services LLC – for exposing employees to health and safety hazards at an oil and gas tank battery construction project where one employee was killed in an explosion and fire and three others suffered third-degree burns. The companies face $70,711 in proposed penalties.

Employees were merging two tank batteries into a single tank battery operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in Mead in May 2017 when the explosion and fire occurred. OSHA inspectors found that flammable vapors or gases ignited as employees worked near pipes connected to a crude oil tank.

OSHA cited the employers for the following:

  • Introducing potential ignition sources into work areas containing flammable gases or vapors;
  • Not isolating flammable gases or vapors from welding activity; and
  • Not adequately inspecting the worksite and addressing safety hazards including an excavation.

OSHA Area Director, Herb Gibson, said, “Oil and gas industry employers must take proper precautions for hot work in the presence of flammable hydrocarbon”, adding, “OSHA and the industry have issued guidance for employers on the hazards of flammable materials and appropriate protective measures.”

Each company has held an informal conference with OSHA’s Denver Area Office to discuss and attempt to resolve the citations.