Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Five Workers Hurt in North Dakota Oilfield Flash Fire

There apparently is no environmental or public health fallout from an oilfield flash fire in the Bakken south of Williston, ND, that injured five workers, one of whom was airlifted to a nearby hospital in McKenzie County with burns, according to Trustland Oilfield Services and the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

The workers reportedly were removing the cover of an empty tank when fumes were ignited by a spark from what was initially identified as an electric drill. The source of the spark is still the subject of an investigation by a federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) team, according to Trustland CFO Jim Smith. There are several possible spark sources, Smith said.

The incident, which was mischaracterized at first as an explosion, occurred late Tuesday morning near Alexander, ND, 30 miles south of Williston.

The injured workers are all employees of Trustland, a services company in New Town, ND, that operates roustabout services throughout the Bakken/Three Forks formations. Smith told NGI's Shale Daily that the initial reports of an explosion were inaccurate, and Trustland has asked the local sheriff's office and others to correct their original reports to local news media.

Trustland senior executives met with OSHA officials all day Wednesday. The company intends to update its safety training and field procedures to eliminate the risk of a similar incident in the future, said Smith, noting that three of the four workers who sustained minor injuries were able to attend the OSHA meeting and be interviewed by federal officials.

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