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OSHA probes Kansas oilfield explosion

15 December 2016

Federal workplace safety officials are investigating a western Kansas oil field explosion that 
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it was investigating the December 12 explosion at a rig southwest of Sharon Springs, Kansas. Five employees were taken to a local hospital in Tribune, but two of them were flown by air ambulance to Denver in a critical state.

Sharon Springs fire chief Jay Sharp said crews were working when gas made its way onto the deck floor of a warming hut, which included running heaters.

OSHA’s preliminary investigation indicates the explosion occurred while workers were performing a drill stem test, according to a press release. Drill stem testing is a procedure done during the drilling of a well to help determine whether the site has a commercially viable reservoir of hydrocarbon.

The rig was operated by Murfin Drilling, based in Wichita. It has been cited by OSHA seven times since 2006, including a fatality on March 26, 2008, when a worker was killed on a job site near Great Bend.

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