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Permian oil company cited for death of three workers

A West Texas oil service company will have to pay a total of $50,400 in fines for a well fire explosion that killed three workers earlier this year.

The Texas Tribune reported that Andrews, Texas residents Arturo Martinez Sr., his son Arturo Martinez Jr. and Rogelio Salgado, who married into the Martinez family, died in March while trying to install a blowout preventer on a well in Upton County, just south of Midland.

This past Tuesday, Odessa-based Mason Well Service was cited for six violations by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Five of the citations were deemed as “serious,” and one was a repeat offense.

According to the Tribune, the company failed to separate flammable liquids and gases from sources of ignition, OSHA stated. In addition, Mason Well Service did not ensure its workers wore hydrogen sulfide monitors and flame-resistant clothing.

In related news, OSHA adds inspectors as Permian area oilfield deaths increase.

OSHA investigators also found that the company allowed pickups to drive near the well and allowed employees to smoke nearby. The federal investigators penalized the company for similar working conditions in 2014.

“This is a heartbreaking and senseless case,” Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA’s area director in Lubbock, said in a statement. “Though the fines for the serious violations are the maximum amount allowed by law, no dollar amount can ease the loss felt by family and friends.”

Like in any case, Mason Well Service has the options to discuss the fines with OSHA, correct the violations and pay, or contest the citations altogether.

Check out the Texas Tribune for the original article.

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