OSHA Cites Refinery $259K for 20 Violations

Guaynabo, PR A St. Croix refinery faces $259,407 in proposed OSHA penalties after the agency cited the company for 20 violations. Earlier in February and May, the refinery releasing oil and vapor into the air and fiery flares led to an OSHA investigation.

OSHA Cites Refinery $259K for 20 Violations

The Violations and Citations

Subsequently, OSHA concluded that Limetree Bay Refining LLC’s refinery failed to meet federal workplace chemical safety standards and endangered workers based on the investigation. The agency has determined that Limetree Bay Refining did not fulfill the following:

  • Compile all necessary information on process equipment and technology, including relief system design, safe operating limits, and consequences of deviation from those limits.
  • Evaluate and implement controls to manage process hazards adequately.
  • Complete a pre-startup safety review.
  • Prevent process equipment from operating in deficient condition.
  • Inspect process equipment adequately before returning it to service and introducing hazardous chemicals to the process.
  • Develop and implement operating procedures to address conditions that deviate from normal operations. Inspect process equipment adequately before returning it to service and introducing hazardous chemicals to the process.
  • Develop and implement operating procedures to address conditions that deviate from normal operations.

In addition to OSHA’s PSM and other safety standards, petroleum refineries are also subject to EPA regulations. The EPA cited Limetree Bay Refining on April 30th and June 16th for Clean Air Act (CAA) violations; and issued a CAA Section 303 order on May 14th, pausing the refinery’s operations. Later on July 12th, the Department of Justice announced the refinery had agreed to EPA’s requirements regarding the refinery’s shutdown. Limetree Bay was no longer in operation and did not intend to restart the refinery.

Complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard Reduces Risks

“The increasing number of severity release incidents at the refinery indicated Limetree Bay Refining LLC was putting workers at risk by permitting serious deficiencies that exist within its process equipment and inadequate process safety management programs.” Alfredo Nogueras, OSHA’s Guaynabo, Puerto Rico area office director, said in an agency statement.  “There are inherent hazards facing workers in facilities that process large quantities of flammable and toxic chemicals at high temperatures and pressures. Complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard reduces those risks and protects workers,” he continued.

OSHA has a National Emphasis Program to enforce its PSM standard, including petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturing, and facilities producing explosives and pyrotechnics. The agency has a rulemaking intended to modernize the standards to prevent major chemical accidents.

Incidents at refineries are also investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). The CSB makes recommendations to the EPA, OSHA, facility operators, and standard-setting organizations. Currently, CSB has 14 open recommendations for OSHA to address.

Key Takeaways

In summary, risk can be found in any workplace; however, to avoid becoming complacent with health and safety procedures is essential. Scheduling regular workplace health and safety training can positively influence an organization’s efficiency and productivity, thus reducing costs and saving lives.

Learn more on Martin Technical’s VR curriculums, developed by subject matter experts, to raise awareness about the risks and preventive measures against accidents on the oil and gas platform (FPSO). It provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production. VR is also a cost-effective tool for simulating realistic and hazardous working environments to create memorable and interactive learning opportunities in a safe virtual environment.

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