OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-05-333-DAL
Friday, March 4, 2005
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
Texas City Accident
HOUSTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations to BP North America Inc., Houston, Texas, and proposed penalties totaling $109,500 for safety violations following the investigation of a double fatality last September in Texas City, Texas.
BP North America employs about 10,000 workers world-wide, of which 1,500 work in Texas City. The company was cited for one alleged willful and seven alleged serious violations following an inspection by OSHA's Houston South area office that began Sept. 2 when the release of high-pressure, superheated water engulfed three employees, inflicting fatal burns on two of them and seriously injuring one other.
"Health and safety standards must be strictly adhered to in order to protect employees," said Houston South Area Director Charles E. Williams. "BP North America has years of experience in handling hazardous materials. If OSHA standards had been followed, this tragic loss of life might have been avoided."
The alleged willful violation was issued for failing to relieve trapped or residual pressure within a pipe. Employees were working on removing a 12-inch check valve from a high pressure hot water line without relieving the pressure within the line, resulting in a flood of hot water and steam. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act and regulations.
The alleged serious violations include failing to identify exit areas; failing to maintain mechanical equipment; failing to ensure that machinery is inoperable during repair and maintenance; and failing to provide personal protective equipment. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from the violation.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Houston South area director, 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 Houston South Office at (281) 286-0583 or OSHA's hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing an imminent danger to workers.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://www.dol.gov>. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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