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Robinson Drilling Rig Must be Shut Down After Three Deaths in 14 Months 6/13/11

Click Here For Dawson County Sheriffs Report Concering Robinson Drilling Rig #3 Fatal Accident __________________________________________________________



Beau Berman
CBS 7 News
June 13, 2011

Big Spring, Texas -

A Big Spring family is questioning the safety of Robinson Drilling, just days after Sandy Daves and Jason Bolt were both killed on the company’s drilling rig number 3.

Sandy Daves had only been working on Robinson Drilling Rig #3 for one week before he and his best friend, Jason Bolt were killed this past weekend.

“I’m burying a best friend and I’m saying my goodbyes to my brother”, says Sandy’s sister, Anna White, in tears.

OSHA is investigating the incident but cannot comment right now because of the investigation’s status as “open”.

Sandy’s sister wants Robinson to take action.

She says her cousin Ryan Locke died on Rig #3 on April 1st of 2010.

When Locke died, the rig was shut down for several days but that’s not the case this time around, despite two fatalities on a single day.

“They need to inspect everything and do a full, thorough inspection on this rig”, says White.

Many family members of those who have been lost say that Robinson Rig 3 is old and needs to be taken out of commission. They say it has proven to be dangerous time and time again.

So CBS 7 spoke with Robinson’s President, Mike Robinson on Monday. We asked him about the issue but he refused to comment about why so many accidents have occurred at the same company on the exact same rig.

The loss of Sandy and Jason mark the third death on rig three in the past 13 months.

“It took my son who is 29 years old with 7 kids. Now they have no father at all to take care of them”, says Sandy’s mother, Zeita Mase.

Sandy’s wife has hired an attorney, but says that she is already struggling to pay for the funeral and support her kids without the help of her husband.

Robinson’s owner, Mike Robinson, refused to tell us where the rig is located when we spoke with him at the company headquarters Monday afternoon.

But we later located the rig in Lamesa, just off County Road 19.

Sandy’s sister says that despite the death of two men less than two days ago, the rig is already up and running, once again.

“Enough is enough. The families can’t take any more. My brother and my best friends aren’t even laid to rest. They have it up running again the day after my brother passed away and he’s not even in the ground you know”, says White.

According to Sandy’s wife, another man was killed on a Robinson Drilling Rig back in 2004.

Both families described multiple injuries on Robinson equipment during the past few years.

CBS 7 will continue to investigate Robinson’s record this week.


Update June 14th

After 5 Deaths and 27 Citations - Drilling Company is Under Scrutiny 6/14/11

Beau Berman
CBS 7 News
June 14, 2011

Big Spring, Texas -

Accidents can happen at any job and the oilfield is no different.

But with four deaths in the last 14 months, some family members are now questioning the Robinson Drilling Company of Big Spring.

OSHA is now investigating Robinson for almost the 30th time in the last 10 years, following the death of Sandy Daves and Jason Bolt on rig #3 Saturday.

The deaths were the third and fourth at Robinson since April of last year.

Now a man who was paralyzed on a Robinson rig is speaking out.

Four Robinson Drilling employees have died since April 2010, three of them on rig number three, which is now in Lamesa, where Sandy Daves and Jason Bolt died Saturday.

In 2004, Dusty Painter was working a Robinson Rig in Upton County when falling metal struck him and Jesse Perkins.

Perkins was killed and Painter was left a quadriplegic.

"I'm paralyzed. I've got partial movement in my arms. I can barely move my fingers", says Painter, the father of two girls.

OSHA data indicates that Robinson has a history of problems including 27 citations from 2002 to 2010, 16 of them repeat violations.

But the dollar amount Robinson was fined may surprise you.

OSHA issued almost $53,000 in fines to the company, but Robinson only paid $43,000.

That discrepancy is not uncommon.

A 2008 senate report found that OSHA penalties are consistently low and routinely reduced in settlement negotiations.

In fact, the average penalty for a non-fatal violation is just $234.00

The average for a fatal accident is about $2,500.

Dusty says unless fines are harsher, companies will not take safety seriously.

"If you were to throw the owner's money in there... if they were to get more citations, yeah, they're going to be a lot rougher on the people to be a lot safer", says Painter.

He also believes that Robinson's equipment needs an upgrade.
"Robinson is still working old style. They're not upgrading all their rigs to the newer types where machines do dangerous work for the people".

We called OSHA today with several questions, but they would not grant an interview and did not provide answers to our questions.

THE AFL-CIO has been harshly critical of OSHA saying quote:

"Clearly for most employers these levels of penalties are not sufficient to change employer behavior, improve workplace conditions or deter future violations".

Robinson was cited in relation to the death of Ryan Locke in April 2010 and the death of Wade Bennett in May 2010.

The Dawson County Sheriff's Office incident report indicates that hard hats weren't enough to protect Sandy Daves and Jason Bolt when equipment broke off on their rig.

It now remains to be seen what OSHA will do in light of the most recent deaths on Robinson Rig 3, and how the company will respond to any potential action.

"I'm pretty sure all the companies have a bunch of problems with their rigs. I worked for a bunch of different companies and they were always trying to be safe but it's not the right kind of job to be safe in", says Painter.

We contacted Mike Robinson Monday but he refused to comment.

Robinson, the owner of Robinson Drilling did not pick up his office line when we called this afternoon to ask about his company’s many citations and accusations of old equipment.


Now checking the OSHA Website

From OSHA website-More Violations Cited At Robinson Rig #3 Below


On or about April 1, 2010, on Robinson Drilling Rig #3, located near the intersection of Highway 158 and FM 1788 in Midland, Texas, employees were not trained in the hazards of using an air winch and a sledge hammer on ball valves that were under approximately 3000 pounds of pressure. Among others, feasible means of abatement include insuring that all employees are properly trained to work with high pressure equipment.



On or about October 3, 2009, employees of Robinson Drilling of Texas Ltd. were repairing a pump engine with Rig #3, located at a well site in Midland County, Texas. Although this engine was locked out and removed from service prior to that work, a hammer union connection on the pipe providing compressed air to the starter motor for that engine was not inspected to verify that it was operationally intact and that it had a retaining line on it to prevent the line from moving should it come loose. Employees were thus exposed to the hazard of being struck by the pipe in the event that the hammer union came loose when compressed air was supplied to the starter motor. One feasible method of abatement of this hazard is to examine and test the coupling and verifying that it had a restraining line on it prior to applying pneumatic pressure to an air line containing one.




From the OSHA website could this be the citation for this accident?

 On June 15, 2010, Robinson Drilling Rig #4 was equipped with a cantilever style mast derrick made by Lee C. Moore (Serial #T2507). Following a hard pull, the derrick collapsed. Employees were thus exposed to the hazards of being struck by or crushed by a collapsing derrick. One feasible method of abatement would be to use more extensive methods of testing, such as ultrasonic testing on older rig and derrick structures before placing them in service; to ensure that repairs are made by welders certified in accordance with AWS D1.1 or equivalent to ensure that all welds used to repair a drilling derrick be completed in accordance with the requirements of AWS D1.1 or equivalent and to examine completed welds to verify that adequate repairs have been made.

Dawson County Sheriffs Report Concering Robionson Drilling Rig #3 Fatal Accident

Comment by Jimbob1229 on June 16, 2011 at 7:30pm
Somebody should get pics of Rig 3 for the site ...
Comment by Drilling Ahead on June 16, 2011 at 7:47pm

Randi is still searching OSHA records to try and find more-I am hearing that the Kelly Bushings came out and struck the 2 in the head (talk about worn out junk) I am not sure if they flew out while drilling-or if they fell out during a connection. Will have to wait for the final report.

On 5/12/10 a Robinson hand fell from the board after disconnectiong from his fall protection-no specifics on the rig number-

Comment by Drilling Ahead on June 16, 2011 at 7:51pm

My opinion is this:

If a worker is killed because worn out junk iron equipment comes apart and kills someone-that company should not only be liable in millions of dollars in fines-the owner of that company should face manslaughter charges!

They ALL TALK safety-but when safety means replacing worn out junk iron with company funds-FEW are ready to cough up the cash.

Comment by T on June 16, 2011 at 10:27pm
Thanks for posting this Curtis! A tragedy we are all aware of when companies preach safety but will not follow through! Maintaining everything takes time and money, unfortunately many companies realize the fines are either de minimis fines or they are so low once negotiated that they just see the mighty dollar ahead....

My thoughts and prayers go out to these families!

Here is a link to the .PDF file of the official accident report

Comment by Luiz Souza on June 17, 2011 at 5:11am

My Might God shut that rig down forever!!!!

All Roughnecks in the world expect for this.

Regards to the families affected since Brazil!


Comment by Drilling Ahead on June 17, 2011 at 11:13am
Thanks Trish!
After reading the Sheriffs report you posted it looks like the Kelly Bushings were worn out- Looks like they were making the kelly up with a spinning chain when they bumped it up the kelly bushings fell straight down from the kelly and killed the 2 men on tongs below. This could happen because a roller came out-or because the kelly was so worn that the shock of bumping up the connection was enough to funally let it go. There is no excuse for mnen being hurt/killed by worn out equipment!(not with 100/bbl oil and $20,000-$30,000 a day rig rates!)

I will also host and post a link here to the Dawson County Sheriffs Report-its a very sad read for those who want to understand the accident on a more personal level
Comment by Jay anthony ostrom on June 17, 2011 at 1:51pm
Mike Robbinson should be charge with murder!!!!! He should be shut down..... My prayers go out to the famlies
Comment by eleven wang on June 17, 2011 at 7:23pm
very sorry to hear these news, hope  the Daves' will not have a tough life. Also, Robionson should be responsible for all these accidents. Everyone who work for this company should stand up to confirm their rights and to keep their working safe. 
Comment by sonny crumb on June 18, 2011 at 2:00am

...My prayers go out to the families!

My question is;  What oil company is this rig hired out to? And how could they let this rig stay in the field with its history?  I agree the rig owner Mike Robinson should be held accountable, charged for the deaths of all the men who lost their lives while working for him, "Not just f@#king fined", he shouldn't be able to pay his way out of this!  The oil company holds some responsability in this matter also and should be held somewhat accountable for allowing this to happen.  What do they have to say about whats happened??


Comment by Jim F. on June 18, 2011 at 8:23am

Very Sad Indeed! My Prayers to these people too. There are a lot of great comments on this post that I have read.  The sad irony of 'boom times' is that it brings out drilling rigs that should, otherwise  be melted down and an influx of many green hands and they do not get proper training like a lot of other jobs provide. Some one must be accountable for incidents this. There is a thing called Due Dilligence and it can be by anyone on the job sight with practical experience that is able to notice worn out or defective equipment/ Safety Hazards.As a Tool Pusher myself, it is up to me and my Drillers to inspect equipment on a per Shift/Daily/Weeky/Monthly basis and document it. When a worker has a concern about safety to personell and equipment, that it be addressed, documented and sent into the appropriate supervisors in the chain of command. If nessacary, we have the option (and have used it) to shut the rig down and correct the situation to prevent injury or further damage and never got sh_t from my superiors for that judgement call!!!!

   The workers go to work to make a living and to feed their families. NO ONE should have to die at their work place, due to the neglect of upper management people or improper training. Drilling rigs are no more dangerous than any other job, in my opinion. It is Attitude, if Upper Management cares about their Men & Equipment, that attitude should,,, should flow right down to the Ruffnecks and this would have a much safer work place but sadly, this is not always the case. I have been fortunate over the years to work for Management that Does care about Health & Safety to their Employee's. Its very sad to think that now, the wives and these children will not be seeing Daddy come home any more, who was out just trying to make a better living for his Family.

   In closing, I would like to say to all the Workers out there, if your job sight does not look safe or feel safe, go find a rig that does. There are a lot of jobs in the drilling industry now. No one should have to fear injury or death on a daily basis going to work because of the neglect of others who either dont care or are more concerned about their profits over a workers life. Tomorrow is June 19th  FATHER'S DAY, to bad the Family Pictures of all these workers couldn't be on the front page for this Drilling Contractor to see, I'm sure they are checking the blogs.

Comment by Jim Bob White on June 18, 2011 at 4:50pm

It's very sad indeed that 2 men lost their lives due to negligence. Not upper managements negligence but from negligence of every last hand on the rig. From the tool pusher down to the morning tower lead tong hand. The kelly bushings are right in front of you all day, all night. From experience I know that if they were that wore out they were clattering like hell. Everybody on the rig and for  miles could probably hear them. What's wrong with the daylight driller and the tool pusher? It shouldn't go any further than that. Mike Robinson can't run the rig from an office. It is up to everybody that works there to inspect your equipment daily. It's your life you might save.


Comment by Alan Fortune on June 18, 2011 at 5:11pm

The 'call' is for more inspections.

Yes, a good idea, more work for me.

BUT, the main things that need to be improved are as I have said before.



Improve IMPLEMENTATION of the existing rules and regulations

ENFORCE the above


If this is not done, conditions will continue.


In my occupation, I can only make people aware of what they have, I cannot enforce.

Comment by Drilling Ahead on June 18, 2011 at 5:55pm

Another "story" thats also beng told is

"Driller was sleeping and drilled down to the bushings for some time-so the hands took it upon themselves to make the connection-kelly bushings were hung on the Kelly when they picked up and none either noticed or knew better-somewhere along the way the kelly bushings jarred loose and slid down the length of the kelly"

All we really know at the moment is the hands were killed by the kelly bushings...

Comment by khaled Mohamed shehab on June 21, 2011 at 4:15am

Analysis of accidents often identifies a number of contributing factors and/or anomalies, among which the equipment related items play a significant role.These inspections enable the necessary corrections to be made in due time, thereby limiting the occurrence of accidents . When systematic rig inspections are carried out, it is that the percentage of accidents where equipment failure is the major cause remains very low. However, equipment condition factors contributing to the accidents still remain present in a large number of cases. Also visual inspection of equipment before use should be the reponisbility of every one on the rig from Rig Manager to Roustabout !Toolpusher and or Rig manager can't run the rig from an office 

Comment by dennis bolt on August 5, 2011 at 4:43am
my name is d. bolt, father o Jason bolt.  iv read your comments and thank you all for your prayers  my theory, according to the info that i hav recieved, s that the bushings were hung up on the kelly, at what height, i couldnt say, but for the nts to be jarred completely loose from the bolts holding the bushings together, there had to hav been a great impact happen.  the kelly was not stabbed in the box of the tooljoint in the mousehole, but rather sitting on the edge of the box.  this incident, i believe, happened just as the kelly sat on the box.  the bushings fell, hit in the upset where they are supposed to rest during NORMAL operation, and the impact caused them to come apart and travel down to the tongs, forcing them to the floor, resulting in the two deaths of unsuspecting MEN.  i WILL INVESTIGATE THE ORIGIN of the kelly and bushings.  new? used? auction?  were the bolts the proper grade steel. was h2s contamination evident as well as machine records done to the kelly and bushings prior to this incident.  the rumor that the driller was asleep is a believable one...happens all the time.  id like to know where this rumor originated and if in fact it is rumor.  There are MANY factors to be determined about ths incident, but the funny thing is that NOT ONE OF THE HANDS, specifically one, kyle gerstenberger will even acknowledge my existance, but pleaded with me to let him be a paulbearer.  said he was mysons "friend".  Its people like kyle that KNOWS first hand what happened out there, but i guess all he wanted from me was to be a paulbearer.  thats not what MY SONS FRIENDS WOULD DO, I WILL TELL YOU THAT.  HE WAS MERELY AN ACQUAINTENCE AND IDONT APPRECIATE HIM REFERING TO HIMSELF AS BEING MY SONS FRIEND.  say what you will, i will get to the bottom of this and my experience will put this picture together JUST AS IT HAPPENED, with or without the assistnce of ANY employee that was there.  I WILL BE the most valuable inestigator that my son could hope for and i hav GOD to thank for my expertise!  I havin my mind, the base foundation for a safety "awareness" program that will give the inexperienced men a much greater chance of survival on a drilling rig, because the experience just isnt there to protect them like it used to be.  the accelerated advances of hands to supervisory positions put inexperienced men at very dangerous risk!!!  BLIND LEADIN THE BLIND... WONT STAND FOR IT!!!  my phone number is 432-816-3139 if any1 would like to contact me regarding any of this.  I had shoulder surgery just prior to my son's death and neck surgery after, for injuries sustained from robinson drlg rig incidents.  and have worked on thier rigs for quite some time.  I know robinson drlg as well as many other companies in the permian basin and until june 11,  and  have been a part of this wild west outlaw oilpatch in the west texas area most of my life.  BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT!!!!  my SONS DEATH will not be silenced, but HEARD loud and clear.  and i will do everything in my power and to my last breath to see that changes are made in this west texas oilfield.  I hav 1 question that i need help answering...y was i not notified of my son's death or even that an incident had even occured until 9:30 that morning?  does not "in case of emergency notify"  mean anything.  I KNOW THE PEOPLE AT ROBINSON AND THEY KNOW ME.  NOWHERE IN THE SHERIFF'S REPORT DID I SEE WHERE "ANYONE", SHERIFFS, EMS, OR ANYONE "INQUIRE" OR EVEN MAKE NOTE OF " IF NEXT OF KIN HAD BEEN NOTIFIED".....Pplease someone explain that one to me as well.  thank you all ... and trust me, I KNOW HE RIGHT QUESTIONS TO ASK AND IM SURE NOT BASHFUL ABOUT ASKING THEM TO WHOMEVER I MUST ADDRESS.  the lord god took away any fear of man that i may hav had before when he took my son,  and he also showed me the things that i need to pursue to make "CHANGE".  i could certainly use some help tho.


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