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News Release USDL: 95-373
Wednesday, September 13, 1995
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 219-8151

Clark Refining Agrees To Pay $1.2 Million In Fines Following OSHA Investigation Of Fire And Explosion That Killed Two, Injured Three Others At Blue Island, Ill., Refinery

Clark Refining and Marketing, Inc., has agreed to pay $1,257,000 in penalties proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and make significant safety improvements at its Blue Island, Ill., refinery following an investigation of a fire and explosion that killed two workers and injured three others.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Joseph A. Dear said, "We are pleased that Clark has agreed to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.

"The agreement avoids the cost and burden of possible prolonged litigation and furthers the efforts of both Clark and OSHA to assure a safe workplace at Blue Island."

"Tragedies such as this could be averted if employers followed OSHA regulations designed to prevent deaths or injuries on the job," Dear said.

Two maintenance workers were killed and three operators were hospitalized with injuries in the fire and explosion March 13, 1995, at the Blue Island refinery.

The accident occurred during repair work on a valve for a hydrocracking unit used in producing gasoline. Operators not trained in maintenance procedures were performing the work and did not properly lock out the equipment. Pressure in the line blew off the valve bonnet, shooting flammable liquid and vapor 70 feet into a welding shop, where it exploded into a fire that flashed back to the hydrocracking unit. The employees who were killed had been eating lunch in the welding shop. The three operators in the hydrocracking unit suffered severe burns.

OSHA is issuing the citations and penalties today. The company has agreed not to contest the citations.

During its investigation, OSHA found numerous violations, primarily of the process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals (PSM) standard.

In addition to paying the proposed penalties and abating hazards discovered in the investigation, Clark agreed to perform a process safety management audit of the Blue Island refinery.

The audit will evaluate Clark's compliance with the provisions of the PSM standard at Blue Island and verify that all procedures and practices developed to ensure compliance are understood by plant personnel and are being followed.

Clark will establish and implement a management structure to address the findings of the audit team and the abatement requirements of the citations; recommend corrective actions in an action plan; and confirm and document completion or other disposition of recommended corrective actions. The audit will also address all elements of process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals at Blue Island, with emphasis on issues addressed in the OSHA citations including training in the requirements of the lockout/tagout standard; facility siting; mechanical integrity programs; relief and vent systems and devices; written operating procedures and procedures for lockout/tagout; and procedures for issuing, enforcing and revoking work permits for contractors.

The action plan will include a mandatory timetable and priority order for correction of any hazards, as well as provisions for interim protection of workers until final corrective action is accomplished.

An independent third party consultant (approved by OSHA), with expertise in conducting process safety management audits in refineries will be part of the audit team.

Clark has also agreed to establish a system of effective consultations with employees concerning its compliance activities under the PSM standard and the terms of the agreement.

The company will report to OSHA on steps taken to implement the agreement, including the audit and action plan.

SUMMARY OF CITATIONS AND PENALTIES Clark Refining & Marketing, Inc. Blue Island, Ill., Refinery

Violation of Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act requiring employer to furnish employment free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Employees exposed to toxic gases and vapors while performing work in control rooms.

Employees exposed to falling debris and flying objects because control rooms were not capable of resisting an unconfined vapor cloud explosion or were located within the critical radius of the explosion.

Failure to include relief system design and design basis in process safety information, as required by process safety management standard (PSM).

Failure to meet schedule requirements for process hazard analysis and failure to establish system to assure that process hazard team's recommendations were completed, as required by PSM.

Failure to develop and implement written operating procedures with clear instructions for activities in each covered process, as required by PSM.

Written operating procedures failed to address PSM requirements for operating limits.

Written operating procedures failed to meet PSM requirements for health and safety considerations.

Failure to address requirements for safety systems and their functions in written operating procedures, as required by PSM.

Failure to train employees involved in operating process as required by PSM.

Failure to obtain and evaluate information about contractor employer's safety performance and programs, as required by PSM.

Failure to establish and implement written procedures to maintain on-going integrity of process equipment, as required by PSM.

Failure to provide required PSM training of each employee involved in maintaining the on-going integrity of process equipment.

Failure to follow good engineering practices in inspection and testing of process equipment and to make the inspections and testing with frequency required under PSM.

Deficiencies in equipment that were outside acceptable limits were not corrected as required by PSM.

Failure to meet various requirements of the standard for control of potentially hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).

Failure to meet lockout/tagout requirements for energy isolating devices.

Failure to meet requirements of electrical safety standard on equipment, wiring methods, and installation of electrical equipment.

Other violations involving standards for process safety management, hazardous waste and emergency response, personal protective equipment, confined space entry, lockout/tagout, fire brigades, asbestos, benzene, and lack of guard rails, external corrosion control, hydrogen fluoride alarms, proper valve labeling, boiler controls and failure to seal valves open beneath relief valves.

Total of Proposed Penalties
$1,257,000


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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