Labor Department Cites Exxon Refinery for OSHA Violations, Safety Hazards

  • By: Staff Editor
  • Date: September 16, 2011
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On September 13, the US Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said that Exxon Mobil Corp's refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana exposed workers to possible fires and explosions among other safety violations. The refinery employs around 2,100 workers and produces gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, aviation fuel, lubricating oils and waxes.

OSHA had begun an inspection program of 150 US refineries in 2007 after a federal investigation of a 2005 blast at a BP refinery in Texas City killed 15 workers and injured 180 others. The federal investigators had found fault with OSHA’s oversight of safety measures in the refinery.
As part of the inspection program, OSHA had visited the Exxon refinery in March earlier this year. During the visit, OSHA inspectors said that Exxon Mobil had failed to properly maintain equipment, investigate incidents related to the use of hazardous chemicals or maintain accurate engineering drawings. The refinery was also cited for inadequate process safety management and failure to address inconsistent thickness measurements found in pressure vessel inspections. In all OSHA has charged Exxon Mobil with 20 serious and two less than serious violations of safety regulations.
OSHA area director Dorina Folse said in a statement that: “It is fortunate that in this case that no one was injured.”

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Proposed penalties
OSHA said that is has proposed $126,000 in penalties for the alleged safety violations and Exxon has 15 business days to contest the citations.
Response from Exxon Mobil
An Exxon spokeswoman said that the company believed it complies with “all applicable laws and regulations and apply responsible standards where laws and regulations do not exist."
She also said that the company hoped OSHA would reconsider and withdraw the citations, saying that: “Exxon Mobil is committed to ensuring that our facility operates safely at all times, and nothing is more important than the safety and health of our employees, our contractors and the people who live and work around our operations.”


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