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Two gas well workers were struck and killed when a drainage pipe broke free during a gas well pressure test.

Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 01TX133, 1999 Mar; :1-3
Two gas well workers were killed by the explosion of a flow back line on a gas well. The flow back line removed sand and a coagulating agent from the drill site of the gas well they were working on. The gas well was a natural gas extraction unit with several lines running into and out of the central pump assembly. The victims were standing by during the testing of the gas well which had only been erected two days prior. The well was not yet in production at the time of the incident. The flow back line was approximately 4 inches in diameter and was attached to the pump assembly which ran horizontally along the ground approximately 2 yards to a waste pit. The victims, along with three other co-workers, were standing between two parked trucks in an area adjacent to the flow back line. The pump assembly was activated for testing. A build up of pressure caused the pipe to rupture. The flow back line struck the victims as it broke loose following the rupture. The victims were killed immediately. Two of their co-workers suffered catastrophic injuries. One of the two suffered an amputation of both legs. The TX Face (Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation) Investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that operating, maintenance, and repair procedures are established, implemented, and documented to include a thorough hazard analysis and a continuous safety-training program regarding all heavy machinery and equipment. 2. Place warning signs and/or barricades and ensure that all nonessential personnel are out of the area when testing of well equipment is being conducted. 3. Ensure that workers' assigned to hazardous tasks have close supervisory contact throughout the duration of the work being performed.
Region-6; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Warning-signs; Gas-industry; Safety-programs
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-01TX133; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-613936
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division