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Katherine Lymn, Forum News Service, Published January 03 2014

Man dies after being struck by pipe at rig site near Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. – A man died on a rig site north of Williston on Tuesday after being struck in the head by a section of drilling pipe.

The incident occurred about 1:45 p.m. about 10 miles north of Williston and a mile west of U.S. Highway 85 and U.S. Highway 2.

A compliance officer was at the site Friday investigating, which includes examining the protocols and training of the site and interviewing managers and employees, said Bismarck Occupational Safety and Health Administration Director Eric Brooks.

OSHA doesn’t have shutdown authority, but it can request the site to be preserved in the state it was in during the incident. And for an incident on the actual drilling platform, “generally when you’re asking for site preservation, that’s going to result in the cessation of drilling operations,” Brooks said.

In an archive of the Williams County radio feed at the time of the incident, a dispatcher is recorded as saying, “They had a pipe explode and a guy got hit in the head … he’s unconscious; they are not sure if he’s breathing. They are going to start administering CPR.”

A dispatcher or responder later said he was bleeding from the back of the head, and another later indicated the incident occurred on an “extremely slippery” catwalk or other surface about 40 feet in the air.

Department of Mineral Resources records show the rig, Nabors 110, was being operated by Oasis Petroleum at the time.

Neither Nabors nor Oasis returned calls for comment Friday.