The Commission approves the parties' stipulation and settlement agreement.


Ray H. Darling, Jr.
Executive Secretary

Date: MAY 16 1985







The parties have reached agreement on a full and complete settlement of the instant matter which is presently pending before the Commission.


The parties stipulate as follows:

(a) The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (hereinafter "the Commission") has jurisdiction of this matter pursuant to section 10(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (85 Stat. 1590; 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq. (hereinafter " the Act").

(b) Respondent, Four Flags Drilling Co. is a corporation with its principal place of business located at 6849 Leopard, Corpus Christi, Texas 78409. It is engaged in the business of oil and gas well drilling and during the course of its business its employees perform various tasks in the nature of oil and gas well drilling. During the course of its business, respondent, at all times material to this matter, used materials and equipment which it received from places located outside the state of Texas. Respondent, as a result of the aforesaid activities, is an employer engaged in a business affecting commerce as defined by section 3(3) and 3(5) of the Act and has employees as defined by section 3(6) of the Act and is subject to the requirements of the Act.

(c) As a result of an inspection conducted December 13, 1983, at respondent's facility at Shell Beaurline #7, near Linn, Texas, a citation for one serious violation was issued to respondent on December 29, 1983, along with a proposed related penalty of $300. The citation alleged a violation of the standard at 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1) in that machine guarding was not provided to protect operator(s) and other employees from hazard(s) created by a "smooth" type kelly bushing.[[1/]]

(d) Respondent elected to contest the citation and the Secretary filed his complaint on February 9, 1984. On February 15, 1984, respondent filed its answer and on April 30, 1984, a hearing was held in Corpus Christi, Texas before Administrative Law Judge Dee C. Blythe.

(e) On July 9, 1984, Judge Blythe issued his decision and Order affirming the citation and assessing the recommend $300 penalty.

(f) Respondent filed a timely petition for review and on September 5, 1984 review was ordered of the judge's decision on the affirmance of the 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1) violation. On February 5, 1985, a notice was issued by the Commission requesting briefs from the parties.

Now, in order to avoid further review and litigation, the parties agree to the following:


Respondent hereby agrees to abate the cited conditions as follows:

(a) Respondent agrees that when using a "smooth" type Varco kelly bushing on any of its worksites it will provide and use a guard that will prevent employee contact with the kelly bushing and the rotary table when the equipment is in operation; or

(b) In lieu of a guard, respondent will will institute the following alternative methods of abatement:

1. All employees shall be trained in safe operating procedures when around the rotary table and kelly bushing.

2. The employer shall designate the equipment operator and shall ensure that the designated person is trained and competent in the operation of the rotary drilling equipment.

3. The designated equipment operator shall control the access and activity of all personnel on the drilling floor while equipment is rotating and shall stop such equipment from rotating whenever there is danger to personnel from that equipment.

4. The equipment operator shall never engage the rotary clutch without first ensuring that no employees are on or in proximity to the rotary table in such a manner that they could be endangered.

5. At any time an employee's work activities require the handling of materials which can become entangled in the rotary table, the kelly bushing or the kelly while such equipment is in motion, the designated equipment operator, who is capable of stopping the rotating equipment, shall be at the controls.

6. No materials which may become entangled in the rotary table, kelly bushing and/or kelly shall be allowed within 6 inches
of this equipment when it is to be operated.

7. Wash downhoses shall be of such length or located in such manner that no part of such hoses can ho brought to within 6 inches of the kelly bushing.

8.Spinning chain shall not be wrapped around the joint of the pipe in the mousehold nor handled on the drilling floor so that any part of the chain is within 2 feet of the exposed rotating portions of the rotary table, kelly bushing or kelly.


Complainant recognizes that the alternative methods of abatement as set out in Paragraph I(b) is according to the variance granted by OSHA Instruction STD 1-12.28 dated February 14, 1983, to which the Respondent is bound by this Stipulation and Settlement Agreement but not by this variance until it becomes a standard by due operation of law.


Complainant hereby agrees to withdraw its complaint and citation for violation of 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1) and the related proposed penalty.


Respondent hereby submits that the conditions noted in the above- mentioned citation has been abated according to the terms of this agreement and shall remain abated.


The parties agree that this Stipulation and Settlement Agreement is not to be considered precedential or binding in situations involving conditions or machinery of any other employer and that it does not apply to any type of kelly bushing other than a "smooth" Varco Kelly Bushing.


The parties agree to bear their own attorney's fees, expenses and costs incurred as a result of the instant litigation.


Respondent agrees to post this Stipulation and Settlement Agreement in accordance with Commission Rule 7.

Wherefore, the parties request that this Stipulation and Settlement Agreement be approved by the Commission.


[[1/]] Another citation for non-serious violation of 29 CFR 1910.307(b) was issued and affirmed by the Judge. That violation, however, is not on review and not the subject of the instant agreement.