Sunoco Refinery Fined $32,000 for Process Hazards

OSHA has cited Sunoco Inc. in Marcus Hook, Pa., for workplace safety and health violations. Proposed penalties total $32,000.

The agency's Philadelphia Area Office initiated the investigation following an ethylene complex explosion at the Marcus Hook refinery in May 2009. As a result of the investigation, the company was issued one repeat violation, with a penalty of $25,000, and two serious violations, with a penalty of $7,000.

The repeat violation includes the company's failure to establish and implement written procedures to maintain the on-going mechanical integrity of process equipment. OSHA issues a repeat violation when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order issued to the same employer within the previous three years.

The serious violations address deficiencies in the company's process hazard analysis. 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.

The company 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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