Cyclone faces possible safety fines

Safety: Osha could face $65,000 safety fine

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) has proposed $65,000 in fines against Cyclone Drilling for allegedly exposing workers on a rig near Ray, North Dakota, to fire, falling and other hazards.

Cyclone was cited with two repeat violations, five serious violations and one “other than serious” violation of safety and health standards, Osha said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The hazards discovered during this inspection are well-recognised within the industry and easily can be corrected to protect employees from needless injuries," said Tom Deutscher, director of Osha's office in Bismarck, the state capitol.

Among the repeat violations was an open V-door on an oil rig that exposed employees to a potential 26-foot falling hazard. The V-door is the area where drill pipe sections are brought onto the drilling floor.

Osha cited Gillette, Wyoming-based Cyclone for an open side platform in 2008 at a facility in Lambert, Montana.

Serious violations – which occur when there is a “substantial probability” of harm from hazards an employer knew or should have known about – included a failure to install connecting pins in the derrick and to repair damaged stairs.

Cyclone also did not provide an operable fire extinguisher, electrical covers or protection from rotating machinery parts, according to Osha.

A Cyclone spokesman said the company had requested an informal meeting with Osha to discuss the proposed fines but had no further comment.

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