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Oil worker’s death could have been prevented—Osha
A preliminary report conducted by the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (Osha) has revealed gross negligence in the death of Asim Arthur who was crushed while working on top of a rig at Erin last weekend. The report, which was submitted to the Ministry of Energy; Petrotrin; Well Services Petroleum Company Ltd; and the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union showed there was no standard operating procedure (SOP) on board Rig #20, at Rancho Quemado, Erin.
The report, obtained by the T&T Guardian, said Arthur was performing directional drilling at a depth of 982 feet. It was the tenth day of drilling. At the time of the incident, Arthur, who worked as a floorman, a driller and a trainee, was on the rig deck trying to re-orient the pipes to correct its drilling position. The pipes were detected as being in the wrong direction after a survey was done around 7.30 pm.
The report states that the kelly (part of the rig) was placed over the well-head and in an effort to get it to the right “mark,” a tong (large wrench) was used to hold the torque on the drill string of pipes. Witnesses said the string spun suddenly and the tong pinned Arthur against the kelly. All operations at the rig have since been suspended, pending further investigations. Some of the flaws reported by Osha include:
• There is no SOP in existence for such an operation
• A job hazard analysis (JHA) of the changing situation was not done
• The complement of the crew on deck may not have recognised the danger of performing such an operation
• The torque on the drill string should have been released before any attempt to adjust
• A tong should never be used on a kelly, as both could suffer damage
However, the agency found that the emergency response plan was properly executed. The report stated that all workers are receiving psychological counselling. Well Services has since been advised that they must develop an SOP before any operations can resume. The company has also been mandated to follow a JHA for special tasks, stop jobs if conditions change and install safety signage on deck.
The agency indicated that more interviews will be done and a final report will be provided to the ministry. Since Arthur’s death, Petrotrin’s Joint Ventures group has started a parallel investigation along with the OWTU. Arthur was buried at the La Brea Public Cemetery on Thursday. Arthur was supposed to get married this weekend. His wife Kym-Lee Aqui is six months pregnant.
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