An explosion at a natural gas well in southwestern Pennsylvania has left one worker injured and another one missing. The well, owned by Chevron, is about 50-miles south of Pittsburgh, near the West Virginia border. A company spokesman said that an explosion occurred at about 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at Chevron Appalachia’s Lanco 7H well located in Dunkard Township in Greene County. Established emergency response procedures were initiated, and assistance was also specifically sought from Wild Well Control, a company that specializes in coping with natural gas explosions. A fire continued to burn at the site into the afternoon.
According to a dispatcher with Greene County, the injured individual was taken to an area hospital for treatment. Initial reports did not include information about the condition of the injured person. The dispatcher also confirmed that rescuers were actively searching for the person that was missing.
A Chevron company spokesman said that the company did not immediately know why the explosion occurred. He said via email that Chevron’s main focus was to contain the well fire and to ensure the safety of everyone in proximity to the site, including workers, contractors, and members of the surrounding community.
A worker that sustains a workplace injury caused by a well explosion like this one is covered by the state’s workers compensation laws. An investigation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration will often occur following such an accident. OSHA may issue fines related to the reasons for the accident, such as improper safety procedures and violations of established safety standards. The injured worker may be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that could include medical treatment and lost wages.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Chevron Natural Gas Well Catches Fire In Southwestern Pennsylvania Following Explosion“, February 11, 2014