Region 8 News Release: OSHA 09-211-DEN
March 6, 2009
Contact: Rich Kulczewski or Jeremy Eggers
Phone: 303-844-1302 303-844-1299
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. for safety and health violations, proposing $130,500 in penalties. The petroleum refinery in Commerce City, Colo., has 384 employees.
OSHA began its investigation Sept. 8, 2008, as part of a National Emphasis Program focusing on petroleum refinery process safety management. As a result, the company has been issued 26 serious violations with combined proposed penalties of $81,000 and one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $49,500.
"Failure to follow OSHA's process safety management standard can lead to a catastrophic failure in a refinery," said Herb Gibson, the agency's area office director in Denver, Colo. "It is imperative that Suncor Energy abate these hazards to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for its employees."
The willful violation is due to the company's failure to appropriately test gas monitors for hydrogen sulfide and combustible gas in the HVAC systems for the control rooms. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The serious violations include numerous instances of the company's failure to follow the process safety management standard for the processing of hazardous chemicals; address safe distances and refuge for the emergency response plan; provide industrial trucks which are rated for hazardous locations; and guard ladder way openings. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting almost 39,000 inspections and finding nearly 88,000 violations of its standards and regulations in fiscal year 2008.
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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