Here’s proof that tragic workplace accidents can happen anywhere: An explosion at a refinery that was the recipient of several OSHA STAR awards has claimed the life of a worker.
The blast at Valero’s Texas City, TX, oil refinery resulted in the death of 40-year-old Tommy Mannis. Two other employees received minor injuries, one requiring hospitalization.
Right before the blast occurred, a work crew had been attempting to restart a boiler that had tripped offline. OSHA is investigating.
The Galveston Daily News reports that the refinery is a multiple recipient of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program’s STAR award. With an OSHA VPP STAR designation, the facility isn’t subject to routine OSHA inspections or those conducted through special emphasis programs. STAR facilities do undergo OSHA review every 3-5 years.
A special emphasis program had recently targeted oil refineries. In June 2009, acting OSHA administrator Jordan Barab sent a letter to refineries across the nation emphasizing the need to comply with process safety management standards, as a result of conditions OSHA inspectors were finding during inspections.
So here’s a question: Do you think OSHA VPP STAR facilities should be exempt from inspections? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.