A Texas newspaper takes a look at how the $118,300 OSHA fine for the West Fertilizer explosion stacks up against those for other catastrophic workplace incidents. Its conclusion: OSHA fines aren’t proportional to loss of life.
The federal agency that investigates workplace disasters involving chemicals has identified its seven most important chemical safety improvement goals. The agency’s reason for choosing these specific goals: catastrophes that have killed dozens of workers, injured hundreds more and caused millions of dollars in property damage.
Many items on our “watch list” for OSHA in 2014 had some significant developments this year:
A federal agency is recommending a major shift in the way refineries are regulated for safety, shifting more responsibility to the company and turning the system more proactive instead of reactive.
Big companies are expanding their safety programs to their office settings – so says a recent, nationally published article. The stated goal: Get everyone thinking about safety. Is this really going to help?
Oil giant BP says it will pay $13 million in fines to settle an OSHA case. It’s not about Deepwater Horizon. The origin of this case goes back more than seven years.
“Safety is our top priority.” So said a BP executive in court testimony to determine the company’s liability for the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Where have we heard that before?
Chevron faces $963,200 in fines from Cal/OSHA for 25 citations in connection with the Aug. 6, 2012, fire at the company’s refinery in Richmond, CA. This is the highest penalty in Cal/OSHA’s history.
You know OSHA will send inspectors to a facility when there is a fatality or multiple serious injuries. But chemicals leaks will also bring inspectors calling.
Chevron has agreed to pay a $1 million fine in a settlement with California regarding the August 2012 Richmond Refinery fire. On top of that, the oil producer will also spend at least $20 million upgrading equipment and procedures beyond what’s required by state regulations.
Process safety management fines are commonly tied to chemical manufacturers or refineries. But this case shows any company with refrigeration units can be hit with process safety penalties.
Have DuPont’s safety programs, which it markets to other companies, just suffered an embarrassing black eye?
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says the Feb. 18, 2015, explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA, was caused by “multiple process safety management deficiencies.” The CSB also contends the situation easily could’ve been much worse.
A federal investigation into the fatal fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer plant in Texas points to shortcomings in existing regulations, standards and guidance. Does this case show there is a real need for more safety regulation?
Earlier this year, we asked if DuPont’s safety programs had suffered an embarrassing black eye. Following OSHA’s recent action of placing the company into its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), the question is no longer “if,” but “how big?”
Turns out OSHA made some additional changes to procedures surrounding injury reports.
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