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OSHA slaps Halliburton with citations

For the first time ever, oil industry giant Halliburton has been cited for workplace safety violations in North Dakota.

A release issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Labor detailed two "serious safety violations" levied against the energy giant in relation to the Jan. 19 death of Mike Krajewski at an oil rig site north of Watford City.

Krajewski, a Duluth, Minn., resident, died as the result of injuries suffered when a pipe from a high-pressure line dislodged and struck him in the head while he was working on a hydraulic fracturing job.

"The company failed in its responsibility to maintain a worksite free from recognized safety hazards, such as struck-by hazards," said Eric Brooks, who is based in Bismarck as the area director for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "It is tragic when a worker is killed on the job. Employers must take all precautions to prevent such incidents."

Company spokesperson Susie McMichael said in an email Monday evening that Halliburton has received the citations and is "currently reviewing the matter."

Halliburton has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request a conference with officials or contest the findings before an independent OSHA commission. It is required to pay $7,000 for each violation.

A serious violation is levied when it is found that there is "substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known," according to OSHA rules language.

A multinational company that supplies products and services to the oil and gas industry, Houston-based Halliburton reported income of $624 million for the first quarter of 2013, according to a company release. Halliburton will announce its second quarter earnings next week.

According to statistics listed on its website, Halliburton had not previously been cited by OSHA for violations in North Dakota, a fact that was confirmed by Labor Department spokesman Scott Allen on Monday.

The company has been inspected 43 times nationwide since 2008, according to Labor Department records.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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