CSB Releasing Investigative Report This Week on 2015 Torrance Explosion

Cal/OSHA cited ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company in August 2015 for safety and health violations following its own investigation of the California refinery explosion, which injured four workers.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is holding a news conference on May 3 in Torrance, Calif., to release its final investigation report on the Feb. 18, 2015, explosion at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Torrance. Attending the briefing will be CSB Chair Vanessa Allen Sutherland and Mark Wingard, investigator-in-charge of this case.

Cal/OSHA cited ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company in August 2015 for safety and health violations following its own investigation of the California refinery explosion, which injured four workers. Cal/OSHA issued 19 citations to the company for safety and health violations along with proposed penalties totaling $566,600.

Cal/OSHA classified 18 of the citations as serious "due to a realistic possibility of worker death or serious injury," with six of those serious violations also classified as willful because Cal/OSHA found the company did not take action to eliminate known hazardous conditions at the refinery and intentionally failed to comply with state safety standards.

The explosion resulted from a hydrocarbon release from the refinery's fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) unit into its electrostatic precipitator, which exploded. Cal/OSHA said its investigation concluded that a 2007 safety review uncovered concerns about flammable vapor leakage in the precipitator and management knew of potential fire or explosion hazards from the leakage but did not correct the danger; that ExxonMobil Refining & Supply's incident response team, which included senior management, was aware of a leaking spent slide valve on the FCC unit before the explosion occurred; and that the FCC unit had not been working properly for as many as nine years prior to the incident, and there was no functional pressure transmitter, so the company was unable to monitor hydrocarbon pressure buildup inside the unit.

The CSB briefing is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. local time at the Double Tree Torrance, 21333 Hawthorne Blvd.

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