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Tank Maintenance Worker Killed in Fall

Thursday, July 7, 2011

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Authorities are investigating the death of a contract employee who fell 48 feet from the top of a refinery storage tank as he was performing routine maintenance work this week.

Bradley Edmund, 38, of Taylorville, IL, perished in the fall at WRB Refining LLC in Wood River, IL. Officials said Edmund had been welding and doing other maintenance from a scaffold at the top of the asphalt tank about 3:55 p.m. Tuesday, when he fell.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 Bradley Edmund
Bradley Edmund fell from the top of a refinery tank.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident. No information was immediately available on what fall protection or other safety equipment Edmund was using.

Industrial Service Contractor

Edmund worked for Matrix Service Company, a full-service industrial service contractor based in Tulsa, OK. Matrix provides engineering, fabrication, construction, repair and maintenance services to energy and industrial markets throughout North America.

The company’s services include engineering, fabrication, and construction of aboveground storage tanks and specialty vessels as well as tank repair and maintenance for the petroleum and industrial gas industries.

 Aboveground storage tank
Edmund worked for Matrix Service Co., which provides tank construction, maintenance and repair services throughout North America.

Matrix has no prior history of violations with OSHA.

A Matrix spokesman said the company was cooperating with OSHA and conducting its own investigation.

The company expressed its condolences to Edmund’s family and friends.

“Our employees are extremely important to us,” the spokesman said Thursday. “They are the backbone of our company, and we take their safety very seriously.”

He declined further comment, citing pending investigations.

Expansion, Repairs Called Unrelated

WRB is a joint venture between ConocoPhillips and Cenovus Energy Inc.

The refinery has a nearly perfect OSHA record. In June, the refinery’s Hartford Lubricants Plant paid a $6,000 penalty to settle one Other than Serious OSHA violation related to a crushing hazard posed by untrained employees operating balers.

A ConocoPhillips spokesman told Dow Jones News Service that Edmund’s work was unrelated to expansion of the 362,000 barrel-a-day refinery or to efforts to return the facility to routine operations after a June 25 thunderstorm that knocked out power and reduced output there.

"All personnel at the Wood River Refinery are deeply saddened by this accident, and their thoughts and prayers are with the worker's family," spokesman Rich Johnson said.


Tagged categories: Fall protection; Fatalities; Health and safety; Industrial Contractors; Maintenance coating work; Oil and Gas; OSHA

Comment from Thomas Van Hooser, (7/8/2011, 6:32 AM)

Very sad. Accidental falls are preventable. Too early to know specifics but it can be said that there was a serious breakdown of procedure if this was a work situation.

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