Administrative law judge upholds citations issued by US Labor Department's
OSHA to Delek Refining for serious safety violations at Tyler, Texas, refinery
TYLER, Texas – Administrative Law Judge Dennis L. Phillips of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld seven serious citations issued to Delek Refining Ltd. by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a result of violations found at the company's Tyler refinery. The judge also affirmed the full amount of penalties, $32,850, proposed by OSHA.
OSHA's Dallas Area Office began an inspection on Feb. 19, 2008, as part of its Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program. The agency issued citations for violations of the process safety management standard, failing to guard a rotating shaft in the boiler unit and to label some vessels that held hazardous chemicals to show what the vessels contained. The PSM standard is intended to prevent unexpected releases of hazardous chemicals, especially in locations that could expose employees and others to serious hazards. OSHA found that several PSM violations were systemic in nature and had existed for years.
Brentwood, Tenn.–based Delek Refining disputed OSHA's citations before the OSHRC, a separate federal agency that was created to decide contests of citations and/or penalties resulting from workplace inspections. The case of an employer that contests citations and/or penalties proposed by OSHA is heard by an OSHRC administrative law judge, who ultimately issues a decision.
During the trial, which lasted almost three weeks, extensive testimony of experts for both sides and documentary evidence was submitted. On April 27, Phillips issued a 60-page decision. Delek Refining has 20 days from the date that the decision is docketed with the OSHRC to appeal to its commissioners, whose members are presidential appointees. For more information about the commission, visit http://www.oshrc.gov.
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.
Solis v. Delek Refining Ltd.
OSHRC docket number: 08-1386
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.