Arkansas refinery cited for willful and repeat violations after follow-up OSHA inspection found workers exposed to hazards

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 26 Jul 2013 08:14
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Martin Operating Partnership LP has been cited for five safety and health violations, including one willful and one repeat, with proposed penalties totaling $126,900. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found deficiencies in the employer's process safety management program and other workplace hazards at its Smackover refinery.

The inspection, which began in January, was a follow-up to a 2010 inspection initiated under the agency's Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program. PSM encompasses a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards proactively that are associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, it involves the production of naphthenic crude oil.

The one willful violation involve failing to ensure relief valves were properly sized and of adequate capacity to provide relief, for units such as, but not limited to, Crude Unit #1. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The repeat violation involves failing to ensure process safety information included the relief system design for a Crude Unit. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in the 2010 inspection.

Three serious violations were cited for failing to ensure intervening block valves, upstream and downstream of relief devices, were locked in the open position; ensure process hazard analysis recommendations for facility siting were resolved in a timely manner; and ensure energy control procedures were written to specifically relieve stored energy. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock. "It's vital that Martin Operating Partnership ensure safeguards are in place to protect the safety of workers."

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