Texas Refinery Fined $101,750 for Alleged Process Safety Violations

Following an investigation that began Oct. 16, 2007, OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $101,750 against San Antonio, Texas-based Valero Energy Corp. for alleged safety violations at its refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, the agency announced yesterday. OSHA issued citations alleging 13 serious, two repeat, and one other-than-serious violation following an inspection that was initiated as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program for petroleum refineries. Valero has about 830 employees at the Port Arthur facility.

The repeat violations--issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same, or a substantially similar, violation that has become a final order--address Valero's failure to implement inspection and testing procedures that follow OSHA's standards and regulations. The serious violations include the company's failure to implement accurate process safety information, provide employees with accurate operating procedures, or have an adequate system in place to advance recommendations from process hazard analysis and correct equipment deficiencies.

Dean McDaniel, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas, said the company "has expressed a willingness to take quick, corrective actions in resolving the safety and health violations." Valero has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Houston, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the agency noted.

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