August 29, 2019 — C&J Well Services of Houston, Texas has been ordered to pay $2.1 million after a man died in 2014 while welding inside an uncleaned tanker trailer.
The man who died was Dustin Payne, a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Alabama, who was working for C&J as a welder in the oilfields near Williston, North Dakota.
Payne attempted to weld inside an uncleaned tanker that had previously carried production water, which contains flammable chemicals, sparking an explosion that claimed his life.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ordered C&J to pay $1.6 million in restitution to the victim’s estate and a $500,000 fine.
C&J also pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of willfully violating a federal law requiring tanks to be cleaned before welding.
Prosecutors accused C&J of failing to provide welding-specific training to Payne and others, and failing to effectively supervise thier work.
Judge Hovland also imposed a 3-year probation period in which OSHA is allowed to inspect the company’s company facilities and equipment nationwide for any reason without a warrant or prior notice.
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