N.D. energy company cited for safety violations after worker’s death

STANLEY, N.D. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited First Choice Energy of Minot with nine serious safety violations following an inspection that was prompted by the death of a worker.

Joshua Hoiland, 31, Minot, died March 14 at a work site south of Stanley after he was caught in the agitator of an oilfield vacuum truck storage tank.

An OSHA inspection found that workers were exposed to unsafe conditions at the oilfield drilling and disposal operation, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Five of the nine citations involve OSHA’s confined space requirements, including lack of atmospheric testing, permitting, signs and emergency response procedures.

Other citations involve not properly protecting workers from open pit fall hazards, lack of energy control and lockout/tagout procedures and equipment, failing to conduct annual inspections of energy control procedures and failing to train workers on such procedures.

OSHA has proposed penalties of $33,000. First Choice Energy has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with an OSHA official or contest the findings.

“First Choice Energy failed to develop and implement the most basic of confined space and energy control safety protocols,” Eric Brooks, OSHA’s area director in Bismarck, said in a statement. “Companies have a responsibility to recognize – and train their workers to recognize – hazards unique to their job sites in addition to protecting workers from such hazards.”

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