April 12, 2010
Contact: Elizabeth Todd
US Department of Labor's OSHA cites oil refinery in
Big Spring, Texas, for alleged safety and health hazards
BIG SPRING, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited ALON USA LP with alleged serious and repeat violations following an inspection at the company's crude oil refinery in Big Spring. Proposed penalties total $84,000.
OSHA's Lubbock District Office began its investigation Oct. 27, 2009, at the company's facility on 200 Refinery Road following a report of an explosion. As a result of the explosion, three workers were hospitalized, treated and released.
"This is not the first time this company has failed to effectively implement OSHA's process safety management regulations to protect workers from potential hazards," said Jack A. Rector, OSHA's area director in El Paso, Texas. "This inspection has identified hazards that require corrective action to prevent accidents and injuries."
The serious citation, which includes eight violations, was issued for hazards associated with process safety management including: written operating procedures that did not cover steps for temporary operations; emergency shutdown that did not address gas valves and air induction damper positions; emergency operations that did not ensure operating procedures addressed steps to be taken when a boiler is not capable of producing required steam; startup after emergency shutdown that did not provide written start-up procedures for a boiler following an emergency shut down; a pre-startup safety review that did not confirm construction equipment was in accordance with design and specifications; and an emergency action plan that did not include procedures for small releases. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The repeat citation has been issued for hazards associated with process safety management where the employer did not investigate incidents that resulted in or could have resulted in a catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals. OSHA defines a repeat violation as one where the employer has been previously cited for the same or similar hazard within the past three years.
ALON USA LP Big Spring Refinery is owned by ALON Israel Oil Co. Ltd. and employs about 166 workers in Big Spring. The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Lubbock, Texas, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Lubbock employers and workers with questions about safety and health can call 806-472-7681 or OSHA's hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities and imminent dangers.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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