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Drilling company hit with repeat OSHA citations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Federal regulators have fined an oil and gas drilling operation in Harrison County more than $73,000 after finding the same kinds of violations that inspectors found a year ago when they visited the site.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 10 repeat citations, three serious citations and four other citations to Jay-Bee Oil & Gas Inc. for problems at a drilling site near Salem.

OSHA inspectors issued the citations last week and then agency officials sent out a news release Thursday to announce the move.

"This company's failure to correct previously cited violations means that it continues to place workers in harm's way," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston area office. "It is vital that the company address these hazards to protect its employees."

The repeat citations drew a total of $61,600 in fines, based on an OSHA inspection conducted in February. They included the lack of guardrails or barricades around drilling pits, tripping hazards on walkways and the lack of first-aid equipment and training at the operation.

OSHA inspectors also found that the company did not provide workers with required information or training about the hazardous materials used at the operation.

Jay-Bee was cited for similar problems following an inspection in February 2010. OSHA originally fined the company $27,250, but settled the case for $26,000, agency records show.

Officials from Jay-Bee, which is based in Union, N.J., but has drilled dozen of wells in West Virginia, did not return a phone call seeking comment. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kward@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.


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