It has been discovered that Northeast Energy Management Inc., the employer of the two workers killed in the gas well blast in Indiana Township, Pennsylvania on July 23, had been fined several times for previous violations over the last few years.
The company has paid approximately $10,000 in fines for federal workplace safety violations. Records show that Northeast Energy received ten citations for serious violations.
Huntley & Huntley Inc., the owner of the well, has no record of OSHA violations.
The most recent explosion is the third one involving Northeast Energy since September 2007. The 2007 accident occurred because of an unsafe air mixture, which caused an explosion. The explosion happened when the blowout preventer was removed, causing the well to emit natural gas for over two hours. The explosion caused injuries to nearby workers. OSHA fined Northeast Energy $12,442, but the company was able to negotiate a settlement of $5,965.
Northeast Energy also received a citation for a November 2008 drilling rig fire in Charleroi that involved the inappropriate use of electrical wiring and equipment in a hazardous location. The company paid a $4,000 fine.
It is still unclear what caused the gas-well fire in Indiana Township. OSHA has six months to investigate accidents involving work-related injuries.