An oil field services corporation, its subsidiaries and an employee were indicted in Anchorage on Tuesday on assault charges related to chemical releases at a transfer facility in Kenai, according to a Wednesday release from the Alaska attorney general’s office.
Baker Hughes Inc., Baker Petrolite Corporation, Baker Hughes Oilfield Services Inc., and John Clyde Willis, a manager for Baker Hughes, are facing 25 felony counts, including 10 counts of first-degree assault, 10 counts of second-degree assault, and five counts of third-degree assault.
The indictment alleges that in 2014 during the construction of a new chemical transfer facility, a construction crew was repeatedly exposed to toxic chemical releases at an existing chemical transfer facility, according to the attorney general’s office.
Baker Hughes Inc., its subsidiaries and Willis failed to provide safety information regarding the chemicals used on-site and didn’t respond to repeated complaints by workers about the chemical exposures, the indictment alleges.
Several workers were sent to the hospital in May 2014 because of a large exposure event. Five people experienced prolonged serious physical injury including ataxia, memory loss, migraines, vertigo, respiratory issues and tremors, the attorney general’s release said.
If convicted, Baker Hughes Inc., Baker Petrolite Corporation, and Baker Hughes Oilfield Services Inc. face fines up to $2.5 million for the most serious charges. Willis faces a sentence up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for the most serious charges if convicted.
If defendants are convicted, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants, the release said.
— Clarion staff