After a six-month investigation into the Feb.11 explosion and fatal fire at Chevron Appalachia’s Lanco well pad in Dunkard Township, PA, investigators could not find an exact cause for the fire so there will be no citations for violation of federal safety standards.
Ian McKee, 27, a field service technician for Houston-based Cameron International, died in the blaze.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an inquiry which involved the victim’s family during and after its investigation to explain the agency’s findings and any actions that could end up taken, officials said.
A lock pin improperly secured on a well head assembly by an inexperienced worker may have allowed gas from the pressurized well to escape and ignite, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which issued its report on the fire last week. DEP attributed the cause to human error.
The report criticized Chevron for failing to properly oversee contractors at the site which, among other things, allowed an inexperienced “greenhat” employee of Cameron to do work for which he was neither trained nor properly supervised.
DEP cited the company in April for initially barring DEP personnel from accessing the site as well as for failure to construct and operate a well to ensure well integrity is maintained, failure to use efforts to prevent explosions and fire, hazardous venting of gas and failure to prevent waste of gas due to the condition of blowout equipment.
A DEP spokesman said last week the department intends to meet with Chevron to discuss the violations, and was waiting until its incident report was completed.
DEP spokesman John Poister said Wednesday the department would not comment on OSHA’s investigation. The department has not yet held a meeting with the company but when it does the findings of its report, the violations, “everything will be on the table,” he said.