Stephan Reisinger, 51, pleaded guilty to obstructing an Occupational Safety and Health Administration proceeding after the death of an employee under his supervision. Reisinger was a maintenance manager with Nabors Completion & Production Services Company and oversaw about 40 employees at a facility in Williston.
In October 2014, a mechanic brought a tank truck, which had a small hole in the back, to Reisinger’s Williston facility, according to a redacted indictment. Dustin Payne, a welder under Reisinger’s oversight, attempted to weld it, but the heat or sparks ignited vapor and residue from produced fracking water left inside the tank and caused an explosion. Payne died five days later as a result of his injuries.
The tank was not adequately cleaned or prepared prior to welding, which created an “explosive atmosphere,” according to the indictment.
Authorities interviewed Reisinger shortly after Payne’s death, and Reisinger “repeatedly lied to OSHA” and caused years of delay in the agency’s investigation, prosecutor Christopher Costantini said in Bismarck federal court on Thursday.
Reisinger told OSHA investigators he believed the tanks were only