A recently released report from the state of Pennsylvania found inadequate training, inexperience and insufficient supervision were likely to blame in the death of a worker at a Chevron Corp gas well in Greene County. On February 11, 2014, a 27-year-old worker, at the Lanco 7H well in Dunkard, reportedly heard the hissing sound of gas and went to investigate. The well exploded, killing the man, who Reuters news service reports was expecting his first child.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), an inadequately trained, inexperienced worker — also known as a “greenhat” — had earlier been told to adjust the natural gas well’s lockpins without the oversight of his supervisor. The lockpins were not properly secured, allowing methane gas to escape and ultimately combust.
“The ‘greenhat’ was not supervised closely as he manipulated the lock pins. The ‘greenhat’ had not been trained on this procedure, or any other well procedure,” said the information gathering report. “Allowing inexperienced workers to manipulate pins and gland-nuts on the pressurized wells with limited supervision by co-workers or WSMs increase[d] the safety risk.”
McKee’s family has filed a lawsuit against Chevron Corp. DEP recommended all well operators who use the kinds of lockpins involved in this incident review and reinforce proper safety procedures with all relevant employees.
This tragic story illustrates the true cost of failing to provide oil and gas workers with adequate safety training. Even a small mistake by an inexperienced worker can result in fatalities. If you are in the oil and gas industry, refer to Mastery Technologies‘ extensive library of field-specific training resources to make your workplace safer for all of your employees.