The Edmond Sun

Local News

January 13, 2012

OSHA investigates explosion at Edmond business

EDMOND — A Houston-based company is cooperating with federal investigators exploring what caused Thursday morning’s explosion at its Edmond facility, a spokeswoman said.

Friday afternoon, Edmond Fire Maj. Kelly Lewis said the Fire Department was done with its investigation into the incident at NOV Tuboscope, 3600 S. Kelly, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration likely would be on scene.

Becky Byrd, a spokeswoman for the parent company, National Oilwell Varco, said the company had reported the incident to OSHA and it was cooperating with federal and local authorities.

National Oilwell Varco officials were in Edmond working on the company’s investigation, Byrd said. The company wanted to determine the cause so it could make necessary corrections and prevent it from happening again, she said.

An unknown number of OSHA personnel were at NOV Tuboscope Thursday beginning an investigation, said Juan Rodriguez, a regional spokesman for the federal agency.

Rodriguez said generally investigators will interview employees and witnesses, look at machinery and equipment, see if a company has a history with the agency and determine if any workplace standards or regulations were violated. Violations can result in a citation and financial penalty, he said.

“Every investigation is unique,” he said.

Legally, OSHA has up to six months to complete an investigation, Rodriguez said. Incidents in which three or more workers are injured or in which a single fatality occurs are investigated, he said.

Byrd said it was believed that the rest of the four employees injured by the explosion and resulting fire would be released from a metro burn center by the end of the weekend. One of the injured workers was treated and released Thursday.

One employee suffered third-degree burns, the others first-degree burns, Lewis previously said.

After looking at the scene and hearing accounts from witnesses, Fire Department officials determined a dust cloud and a kerosene heater caused an explosion that injured the NOV Tuboscope employees.

One of the machines became clogged and maintenance workers were attempting to clear the obstruction, Edmond fire officials determined.

A pipe became disconnected and the polymer, a type of powdery substance, was released, creating a dust cloud. The cloud reached an industrial space heater that runs on kerosene and had an open flame.

Byrd previously said the Edmond facility, which has a total of 23 employees, has been shut down pending the outcome of the company’s own investigation. The site coats pipe with corrosion prevention material.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121 ext. 108

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