OSHA probing Kansas oil-drilling blast that injured 5

AP News
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Posted: Dec 13, 2016 6:57 PM

SHARON SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — Federal workplace safety officials are investigating a western Kansas oil field explosion that injured five workers, two of them critically.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday the previous day's accident near Sharon Springs in Wallace County happened while workers were performing a drill stem test.

The medical conditions of the victims, who according to OSHA were affiliated with Wichita-based Murfin Drilling Co., were not immediately available Tuesday.

Phone messages that The Associated Press left with Murfin were not immediately returned.

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.

Sharp said responding firefighters managed to put the fire out quickly.

OSHA said in a statement that Murfin Drilling has been cited by the agency seven times since 2006, including a fatality investigation in which a worker was killed when struck by material on a job site in March 2008 near Great Bend, Kansas.

Murfin's website said the family-owned, 90-year-old company operates oil rigs in the western half of Kansas, southwest Nebraska, eastern Colorado and Oklahoma's Panhandle, with its operations comprising more than 1,300 wells.