US Labor Department's OSHA fines Cotton Valley, La., oil refinery
$207,500 for exposing workers to potential fires and explosions
COTTON VALLEY, La. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Calumet Lubricants Co. LP in Cotton Valley, a subsidiary of Indianapolis, Ind.-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP, with 45 alleged serious and 13 other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to possible fires, explosions and other hazards. The inspection is part of OSHA's Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program. Proposed penalties total $207,500.
The PSM standard emphasizes the management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices.
"This is not the first time a Calumet facility has jeopardized the safety of its workers by failing to manage hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge. "Regardless of the industry, there is a potential for an accidental release any time hazardous chemicals are not properly controlled."
OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office began its inspection Sept. 15, 2010, at the company's facility on Old Highway 7. Serious violations include failing to conduct adequate inspections and testing of piping and pressure vessels; ensure that employees in process and administrative buildings were provided adequate protection in case of an explosion; implement written operating procedures; resolve recommended actions resulting from compliance audits; provide an adequate confined space program; and provide an adequate lockout/tagout program for the control of hazardous 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.
Other-than-serious violations include failing to provide the required machine guarding and correct electrical hazards. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
In 2004, Calumet Lubricants Co. was cited for other-than-serious violations totaling $8,500. Calumet Shreveport Lubricant & Waxes in Shreveport, another Calumet Specialty Products Partners subsidiary, was cited in 2007 for willful, serious and repeat violations totaling $122,400, and again in February 2010 for serious and repeat violations totaling $173,000. Calumet Specialty Products Partners and its subsidiaries employ about 600 workers at six refineries within northwest Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Calumet Lubricants Co. has 15 working days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office at 225-298-5458 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.