NJ Oil Refinery Fined $141,500, Mainly for PSM Failures

OSHA has cited Hess Corp., an oil refinery in Port Reading, N.J., for workplace safety and health violations, proposing fines totaling $141,500. The agency initiated the investigation as part of its National Emphasis Program focused on petroleum refinery process safety management. As a result of the investigation, the company has been issued 31 serious violations and one other-than-serious violation.

"OSHA's process safety management regulations are designed to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards associated with the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals," said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's area office in Avenel, N.J. "If not corrected, these violations could compromise the safety and health of Hess employees."

The serious violations include the company's failure to properly document process safety information, conduct a proper process hazard analysis, evaluate contractor safety and health programs, properly train employees, conduct maintenance on critical instruments, update operating procedures, regularly conduct incident investigations, resolve incident investigation findings in a timely manner, properly install metal stairs, maintain ladders in a safe condition, support piping systems, and protect against physical damage and excessive stresses. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Hess Corp., which employs about 130 workers at the site, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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