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News Release USDL:96-176
Thursday, May 9, 1996
Contact: Frank Kane (202) 219-8151
Lyondell-Citgo Agrees To Pay $200,000 In OSHA Fines Following Houston, Texas Refinery Incident That Affected 100 Workers
Lyondell-Citgo Refining Co. has agreed to pay the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)$200,000 in penalties for citations from OSHA's investigation of an incident involving gases from burning oil at its Houston, Texas, refinery that affected 100 workers.
The incident occurred Nov. 21, 1995. Disulfide oil, a chemical used to clean sulfur at the petroleum products refinery, passed through a flare and ignited. The gases from the burning oil affected 100 contract workers who experienced respiratory system irritation and required medical attention.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Joseph A. Dear said, "The employer not only agreed to pay the proposed penalties in full, but will take all the steps necessary to try to prevent any repetition of such an incident at the refinery." Dear added that the settlement also avoids the cost and burden of prolonged litigation, while furthering the interests of everyone in making the workplace safe as soon as possible.
OSHA issued citations for three unclassified violations and one serious violation of its standard for process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals. The citations involved errors and omissions in written operating procedures for three of the 26 units in the refinery.
The company, OSHA, and Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW) Local 4-227, AFL-CIO, representing workers at the refinery, have agreed that the operating procedures should be rewritten not only for those three units, but plantwide. All 1,300 employees at the refinery will have new operating procedures in full compliance with the standard by December 1997 rather than December 1998 -- the company's original date for compliance.
Lyondell-Citgo will submit reports on its progress to OSHA every 30 days, and will meet quarterly with representatives of OSHA and the union to review the progress.
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