May 8, 2008
Contact: Scott Allen or Brad Mitchell
Agency finds 27 serious and 3 willful violations during its inspection
TOLEDO, Ohio -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $330,000 in fines against Sunoco Inc., an oil refinery in Oregon, Ohio, for alleged willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards.
OSHA initiated a safety inspection at the facility in November 2007 as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program for petroleum refineries. OSHA found 27 serious violations and three willful violations during the inspection. The most critical citations issued are for hazards related to the size and design of pressure relief systems, failing to implement a mechanical integrity program for pressure relief devices and fixed equipment, and failing to correct deficiencies associated with vessel and piping wall thicknesses.
"Injuries and fatalities from incidents at refineries are preventable," said Jule Hovi, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA will not tolerate employers who ignore safety hazards that threaten the lives and well-being of their employees."
Sunoco Inc. has about 500 employees at its Oregon refinery and 13,500 employees company-wide. OSHA has inspected the site five times since 1974. The agency has inspected Sunoco-owned and operated refinery complexes, petrochemical plants and bulk terminals 34 times since 1970. The inspections have resulted in more than 100 citations.
Sunoco Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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