EPPING, N.D. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined an oilfield services company for the May death of an employee in western North Dakota's Williams County.

The federal agency issued a $13,260 penalty to Denver-based Brigade Energy Services, which is contesting the fine.

The employee who died, 34-year-old Jesus Herrera, was working on a well site west of Epping when a heavy rod came loose and struck his head on May 18, according to police and OSHA records. The OSHA citation says the wrong type of coupling was used to hold the rod.

The company should ensure that the correct couplings are used and inspect them to make sure their connections are tightened, according to the citation.

An OSHA spokeswoman said that because Brigade has contested the fine, the matter now goes to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which is an independent federal agency that essentially functions as a court.

Brigade’s office in Williston referred a request for comment Friday, Nov. 22, to the company’s headquarters, which did not immediately respond.

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