OSHA: One Employee Is Killed, Four Injured By Hydrogen Sulfide Gas

Guernsey. OH. According to OSHA “On September 10, 2009, five employees were working on the site of a nonproductive natural gas well, for Chipco, LLC, a gas well service company. The well was being plugged and abandoned, and the materials were to be salvaged. Water was being poured into the well. The water circulated, rose to the top, and flowed into a trench and pit which had been dug for this purpose. The pit liner started to slide into the pit. Employee #1 ran over to pull it back up and secure to the side of the pit. A pocket of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) released from the top of the pipe. Employee #1 was asphyxiated and died. A coworker working nearby was asphyxiated but was not killed. Three other employees ran to the site but were unable to assist because they became incapacitated by the gas. Employee #2 was hospitalized for asphyxiation. Employees #3, 4 and 5 were not hospitalized. The owner of Chipco, LLC was aware of the presence of hydrogen sulfide at this particular well site. He had completed a walk thru inspection of the site with the previous owner, Northcoast Energy, prior to start of work. He had been informed by the representative of Northcoast Energy that this well was being capped due to it containing hydrogen sulfide. He also observed corrosion around the well head which is an indicator of hydrogen sulfide. He did not provide any type of personal or area air monitoring of the site on the day of the incident. The employees were not provided with escape type respirators. Signs were not posted on the site to indicate the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas.”

Read the OSHA Report. Case Closed 2/2013

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