Pipeline worker killed

Published 2:12 pm Saturday, July 3, 2010

Government and law enforcement officials are continuing an investigation into an accident that claimed the life of a Tuscaloosa man in Atmore Thursday afternoon.

Steven Mark Johnson, 39, of Tuscaloosa, was killed when a section of pipe struck him on a work site along East Sunset Drive just off Hwy. 21 in Atmore.

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said his department is conducting its own investigation and is assisting in an investigation being conducted by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

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“We are continuing our investigation into the accident,” Lambert said. “We are also assisting OSHA with their investigation. We actually stayed at the accident site all night Thursday night to make sure the site was secured and untouched.”

OSHA officials were to be on-site Friday to conduct their investigation, Lambert said.

Lambert said the accident occurred at a location where Price Gregory International, a pipeline contracting company based in Texas, was conducting work.

“The company was there on a contract with Florida Gas Transmission,” Lambert said. “They are overseeing work installing a pipeline from Texas to Tampa, Fla. They were working in an area along Sunset Drive laying pipe in a trench there when the accident occurred.”

Price Gregory International is a leading provider of infrastructure services with focus on pipeline construction and related services. The Company was formed through the merger of H.C. Price and Gregory & Cook Construction, two of the largest contractors with the equipment and capability to build large diameter pipelines. The work is part of $2.5 billion Florida Gas Transmission Company project to expand its existing natural gas pipe system to meet the growing energy needs of the Gulf Coast and Florida. The current portion of the project involves more than 450 miles of pipeline being installed in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida with more than 350 miles parallel to existing pipeline.

Lambert said Johnson was working on the job in an area where machinery was laying pipe in a prepared trench at the scene. Johnson was struck by a section of 36-inch pipe that caused his injuries and subsequent death.

“Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene,” Lambert said. “Everything remains under investigation.”

Lambert said deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department and officers the Atmore and Poarch police departments responded to the scene along with Atmore Fire Department personnel. Personnel with Atmore Ambulance Service were also called to the scene. Poarch Fire Department was paged out to the scene, but their services were not needed as they were canceled while en route.

Publisher Adam Prestridge contributed to this story.

Emergency personnel oversee the sight where a gas pipeline worker was killed Thurday afternoon on East Sunset Drive.|Photo by Adam Prestridge