OSHA Cites Pipeline Companies Following Worker Fatalities

OSHA has cited DCP Midstream LP and Complete Energy Services Inc. after two employees suffered fatal burns from a fire at a gas pipeline in Weld County, Colo.

Two employees of Complete Energy and one employee of DCP Midstream were clearing a blockage in a gas pipeline operated by DCP Midstream when the fire occurred. OSHA investigators concluded flammable vapors or gases from a vacuum truck leaked, igniting the pipeline.

The men, employees of Northern Plains Trucking, were working on a gas buildup in a DCP natural gas line at a well site owned by PDC Energy Inc. Two vehicles, a pickup, and a vacuum tanker were damaged by the fire, which started a small grass fire that burned about half an acre. Witnesses told firefighters they saw a ball of fire, followed by a stream of smoke at the scene.

Two men were flown by helicopter and another was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment of burns.

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 in the workplace.

The two companies have been issued $79,004 in proposed penalties.

OSHA Denver Area Office Director Herb Gibson, said, “The employer could have prevented this tragedy by taking appropriate precautions to prevent contact between flammable materials and potential ignition sources.”