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Company cited for safety violations after explosion kills workers

Posted on by SST

Wynnewood Refining Co. LLC, a crude oil refining company in Oklahoma, was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupation Safety and Health Administration following an investigation into the death of two workers at the facility. According to the findings from the investigation, the company was cited with repeat, serious and other-than-serious violations. 

The employees were killed when a boiler exploded at the company's South Powell Street facility. OSHA launched an investigation into the incident and found the company had violated safety standards regarding the management of hazards associated with processes using dangerous chemicals.

Wynnewood Refining was given 15 serious citations, which included failure to ensure the process safety information on equipment design codes. Another violations includes prolonged fuel gas flow and failure to develop and implement operating procedures regarding the start-up of the boiler.

Six repeat citations included failure to ensure boiler equipment complies with good engineering practices, failure to include steps to avoid deviation from operating limits and failure to provide adequate training on the lighting of boilers. Original citations for these safety violations were issued in 2008, according to OSHA. Repeat violations are issued when an employer or company has already been cited for the same or similar violations within the last five years. OSHA issues serious violations when investigations reveal there is an increased risk of death or serious harm as the result of present hazards the employer knew or should have known existed.

Other-than-serious violations are violations of standards but would most likely not contribute to death or physical harm to employees. The two other-than-serious citations issued to Wynnewood Refining included failure to ensure boiler lockout procedures and failure to ensure a second level storage area, OSHA's report said. 

"Failure to implement effectively OSHA's process safety management regulations, which protects employees from potential hazards at high-risk facilities, such as petrochemical refineries, will not be tolerated," said David Bates, OSHA's area director in Oklahoma City. "If OSHA's standards had been followed, it is possible this tragedy could have been avoided."

Process safety management
OSHA developed standards for process safety management to ensure worker safety is maintained by employers. OSHA-approved state plans were developed and adopted by 25 states while the remaining states follow OSHA federal standards for process safety management.

In the case of the Wynnewood Refining Co. explosion, a flame detector sensor could have alerted employees to the dangerous situation surrounding them.

Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.

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