Department of Labor Cites Oil Company After 3 Workers Suffer Severe Injuries in North Dakota Well Explosion

KLX Energy Services was cited for exposing workers to explosion hazards.

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Federal workplace safety investigators determined that an oil company’s failure to take adequate safety precautions contributed to a drilling site explosion near Grassy Butte, North Dakota, on 4 November 2021 that permanently disabled one worker and left two others with serious injuries.

A US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation found KLX Energy Services—operating as KLX Wireline LLC—carelessly transported explosive materials and failed to take required precautions to protect workers and the public during blasting operations. The workers suffered shrapnel injuries when a perforating gun detonated as workers assembled a blasting cap on it to send down a well near Grassy Butte. The workers were using perforating guns to fracture the well bore.

“These individuals suffered serious injuries simply for doing their job,” said OSHA Area Director Scott Overson in Bismarck, North Dakota. “KLX Wireline LLC’s willful failure to follow federal standards is unacceptable and a violation of their employees’ rights to a safe workplace.”

OSHA cited KLX Wireline for failing to equip vehicles transporting explosives with at least two fire extinguishers located near the driver’s seat, ensure safe and consistent disposal or reuse of empty containers and paper fiber packing materials used to wrap explosive materials, and ensure the vehicles were always attended. OSHA inspectors also noted the vehicles lacked safety placards indicating the presence of explosive materials.

OSHA issued six willful, three serious, and two other-than-serious safety violations to KLX Wireline and proposed penalties of $453,982. The agency issued one serious safety citation and proposed penalties of $14,502 to Brigade Energy for exposing workers to hazards during the handling of explosives during perforating operations.

KLX employed the worker who suffered disabling injuries. Brigade Energy of Greenwood Village, Colorado, employed the other two workers.

Learn more about OSHA’s oil and gas extraction safety information.

KLX Wireline is a subsidiary of KLX Energy Services, a Houston-based onshore provider of oilfield services that operates more than 35 service facilities located in major shale basins.