OSHA Fines Houston-Based Company for Reported Safety Violations

March 13, 2006

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations against Lyondell-Citgo Refining LP in Houston for alleged violations of safety and health standards. The agency proposed penalties totaling $55,000.

Lyondell-Citgo, which produces oil and gas, was cited for 11 serious violations following an explosion and fire at the company’s Lawndale St. facility where about 900 workers are employed. OSHA’s Houston South area office began an inspection Oct. 16 which found that a reactor overhead pipe containing vaporized hydrocarbons exploded, seriously injuring one contractor and causing major damage to the unit.

“Had the employer followed OSHA’s standards and procedures, this unfortunate accident might have been avoided,” said Charles Williams, OSHA’s Houston South area director. “Disregard for worker protection is unacceptable.”

Serious violations cited include failing to: identify, evaluate and control petrochemical hazards associated with the pipe; review operating procedures to ensure accuracy; develop and implement safety practices in the use of flammable gas meters, and follow inspection and maintenance procedures on mechanical equipment. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Houston South area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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