January 17, 2020
U.S. Department of Labor Cites Philadelphia Refinery
For Process Safety Management Hazards after Fire and Explosions
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Philadelphia Energy Solutions for serious violations of safety and health hazards related to process safety management (PSM) following a fire and subsequent explosions at the company’s Girard Point Refinery Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June 2019. The company faces $132,600 in penalties.
PSM encompasses requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemicals were hydrofluoric acid and flammable hydrocarbons. OSHA’s inspection found deficiencies in the refinery’s PSM program, including failing to establish or implement written procedures, insufficient hazard analysis and inadequate inspection of process equipment for highly hazardous chemicals used in the process.
“When employers fail to evaluate and address potential hazardous conditions associated with chemical processes, catastrophic events such as this can occur,” said OSHA Philadelphia Area Director Theresa Downs. “OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard requires that employers conduct regular inspections to ensure process equipment meets industry standards.”
OSHA’s Process Safety Management webpage provides resources on recognizing, evaluating and controlling process hazards.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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Release Number: 20-25-PHI (OSHA 20-02 Philadelphia Energy Solutions)
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