BP to Pay More Than $13 Million and Abate Process Safety Management Violations
OSHA and BP Products North America Inc., have resolved 409 of the 439 citations issued by the agency in October 2009 for willful violations of OSHA’s process safety management standard at BP’s refinery in Texas City, Texas. Under the agreement, BP will pay $13,027,000 million in penalties, and already has abated or will abate all existing violations by the end of 2012. For a timeline on OSHA’s actions regarding BP, visit http://www.osha.gov/dep/bp/bp.html.
In September 2005, OSHA cited BP for a then-record $21 million as a result of the explosion at its Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers in March of that year. Upon issuance of the citations, the parties entered into an agreement that required BP to identify and correct deficiencies.
In a 2009 follow-up investigation to evaluate BP’s performance under the 2005 agreement, OSHA found that although BP had made improvements at the plant, the company had failed to correct a number of items, which led OSHA to issue 270 failure-to-abate notices. In a 2010 settlement, BP agreed to pay a penalty of $50.6 million to resolve those notices. Also in 2009, OSHA cited BP for 439 willful violations of the agency’s PSM standard, including failing to follow industry-accepted engineering practices for pressure relief safety systems. Those citations carried total proposed penalties of $30.7 million.
Under this agreement, all violations covered in this settlement have been corrected or will be corrected by December 31, 2012, using the procedures established under the 2010 agreement. Under the 2010 agreement with OSHA, independent third-party experts provided oversight of BP processes for relief and safety instrumented system evaluation, as well as quarterly progress reports on BP’s activity. The 2010 agreement also required BP to hire independent experts to monitor BP’s efforts and obligated the company to allocate $500 million to ensure safety at the Texas City refinery.
Of the 439 October 2009 willful citations, all but 30 are settled by this agreement. The breakdown of the citation settlement is as follows: BP accepted 57 willful and 31 serious citations as issued; 61 original willful citations have been grouped as 34 repeat citations; 150 willful citations have been grouped as 92 unclassified citations; 110 citations have been withdrawn by OSHA; and 30 unresolved citations have been grouped as 22 unresolved citations and remain under contest, and will be litigated or settled in the future.
The 110 citations were withdrawn because BP provided additional documentation after the citations were issued, showing several pieces of equipment originally cited were not covered by the PSM standard, were out of service at the time of the inspection, or met the applicable Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices (RAGAGEP) requirements. BP’s documentation was reviewed and verified by OSHA and independent third-party experts.
RAGAGEP is a safety concept set forth in OSHA’s PSM standard that requires employers covered by the standard to operate potentially hazardous facilities using good engineering practices accepted by their industry. The 30 unresolved violations, which were grouped in the settlement as 22 citations, address BP’s failure to protect certain pressure relief valves in accordance with RAGAGEP.
How to Prepare for OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)
OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, MSDS (called “safety data sheet” or SDS under the new standard), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on SDSs.
Environmental Resource Center is offering webcast training for you to learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. Register for an upcoming webcast on How to Prepare for OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) offered on the following dates:
- July 18
- August 15
- October 2
How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets
OSHA has adopted the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. A cornerstone of GHS is the adoption of a completely revised Safety Data Sheet (SDS). In Environmental Resource Center’s new, How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets webcast, you will learn the differences between the MSDS and SDS, how to author SDSs that meet the latest OSHA standards, how to classify your products according to the 28 GHS hazard classes and 88 categories, what must be entered in each section of the SDS, essential references you can use to locate data for each section of the SDS, and how to handle trade secrets.
To learn what you must do to meet the new SDS requirements, attend How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets webcast on October 3, 2012.
How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard
Workplace and supplier hazard communication labels are being reinvented with OSHA’s adoption of the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for labeling hazardous chemicals. In a new, interactive Environmental Resource Center webcast, How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard, you will learn the difference between workplace and supplier labels; what signal words, hazard statements, precautionary statements, and pictograms must be on your labels; essential references you can use to locate required label information; and how to label products with existing HMIS, NFPA, DOT, and CPSC labels.
The How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard webcast will be offered on October 4, 2012.
Macon RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Macon, Georgia, from July 24–26 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Greensboro RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Greensboro, North Carolina, from August 7–9 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Dallas RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management in Texas and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Dallas, Texas, from August 7–9 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Hot Tips for a Cool Summer
Here’s a list of hot tips that can help save money, cut energy costs, and protect public health during the summer months, including:
For more tips, see: Hot tips for a cool summer.
MSHA Proposes More Than $594,000 in Fines to Kentucky Coal Company
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has proposed $594,100 in fines to Manalapan Mining Co., Inc., P-1 Mine in Harlan County, Kentucky, for four violations. The proposed penalties were assessed as a result of an investigation into the June 2011 death of a miner who was fatally injured when a large section of rock fell from the underground coal mine’s wall, or rib, and knocked him into a dolly.
Although there were no witnesses to the accident, federal accident investigators believe that the continuous haulage system backed up during the mining process, causing the dolly to move along the conveyer belt structure and drag the victim, David A. Partin, from beneath the fallen material.
MSHA determined that the accident occurred because the mine operator failed to support or control the ribs to protect the miner on one of its mechanized mining units, or MMUs. Additionally, the operator failed to conduct adequate pre-shift and on-shift examinations, and ignored the hazardous rib conditions on the MMU. Finally, the operator failed to revise and upgrade the roof control plan to address changing geological conditions that had occurred on the MMU.
The agency has proposed penalties for one violation at $70,000 and three flagrant violations at $174,700 each. A flagrant violation is defined as a reckless or repeated failure to make reasonable efforts to eliminate a known violation of a mandatory safety and health standard that substantially and proximately caused, or reasonably could have been expected to cause, death, or serious bodily injury. Flagrant violations, which were established under the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, may be assessed a maximum civil penalty of $220,000 each.
Last month, MSHA launched its annual Preventive Roof Rib Outreach Program, an educational initiative designed to alert miners and mine operators about the dangers of roof and rib falls, as well as the methods for thoroughly checking and addressing hazardous roof and rib conditions.
The mine operator has contested all of the violations related to the June 2011 fatality.
Three New England Mining Companies Sued to Collect More Than $267,000 in Unpaid Fines
THE MSHA has filed complaints against mining companies in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire to collect $267,724 in unpaid civil penalties resulting from federal mine safety violations. The complaints also seek injunctions and cash performance bonds from each mine operator to guarantee that future penalties will be paid.
The first complaint, filed against American Industries Inc., in Jewett City, Connecticut, seeks to collect unpaid civil penalties of $24,628 assessed against the construction sand and gravel operation, plus interest.
The second complaint, filed against R.J. Cincotta Co., Inc., in Waltham, Massachusetts, seeks $144,847 in unpaid civil penalties assessed against the crushed stone operation, plus interest.
The third complaint, filed against Raymond Sand and Gravel in Raymond, New Hampshire, seeks $98,249 in unpaid civil penalties assessed against the sand and gravel operation, plus interest.
Maine Steel Fabricator Fined $132,000 for Electrical, Crushing, and Laceration Hazards
OSHA has cited Cives Steel Co., for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Augusta, Maine, production facility. The steel products fabricator faces a total of $132,000 in proposed fines for electrical, crushing, laceration, and other hazards identified during an inspection by OSHA’s Augusta Area Office begun in January.
OSHA found that maintenance employees were not supplied with and did not use personal protective equipment to protect themselves against the hazards of electric shock, arc flash, and arc blast while performing diagnostic work on electrical equipment. This situation resulted in OSHA issuing the plant one willful citation, with a $70,000 fine. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Another electrical hazard cited is the use of extension cords as a substitute for fixed wiring, a condition similar to one for which OSHA had cited Cives Steel’s Gouverneur, New York, plant in 2010. This situation resulted in the issuance of one repeat citation, with a $22,000 fine. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule, or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Nine serious citations, with $40,000 in fines, have been issued for crushing hazards stemming from the plant’s failure to label and test the weight capacity of an in-house fabricated lifting device used to lift metal plates weighing up to 900lb; laceration hazards from the unsafe practice of drop staring a chain saw; a lack of leg protection while using chain saws; falls from standing on raw and fabricated steel products; an incomplete confined space entry program; inadequate egress from a mezzanine; and additional electrical hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The inspection was conducted under OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs inspections toward workplaces with a rate of workdays lost due to injuries and illnesses that is higher than the industry average.
Contractor Cited for Willful, Serious Trenching Violations
DKS Structural Services Inc., doing business as Don Kennedy and Sons House Moving Co., has been cited by OSHA for four trenching violations. OSHA opened an investigation after receiving a complaint filed under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act from a whistleblower who alleged he was terminated for refusing to enter an unprotected trench. At the time of the incident, the whistleblower and other workers were performing foundation repair work in Huntsville, Alabama. Proposed penalties total $122,400.
Two willful violations involve failing to provide a safe means of entrance and exit from an excavation and not providing cave-in protection for employees working in a trench that was 15 feet deep. The citations carry $112,000 in penalties.
Two serious violations involve exposing employees to fall and crushing hazards by allowing them to stand in a backhoe bucket as a means to lower and raise them in the excavation, as well as exposing workers to struck-by hazards from loose soil, rocks, and equipment by not having them wear head protection. The citations carry $10,400 in proposed penalties.
OSHA standards mandate that all excavations five feet or deeper be protected against collapse.
This Section 11(c) whistleblower investigation has been referred to the department’s Office of the Solicitor for potential litigation.
DKS Structural Services Inc., is based in Huntsville, Alabama, and specializes in structural relocation, foundation repair, and leveling.
Arkema Cited for Process Safety Violations
OSHA has cited King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based Arkema Inc., with 12 serious, one repeat, and one other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to multiple safety hazards while producing organic chemicals at the company’s Houston, Texas, facility. OSHA’s Houston North Area Office initiated an inspection of the plant in January after receiving an employee complaint, and later expanded the inspection under the agency’s process safety management national emphasis program for preventing or minimizing the catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals. Proposed penalties total $117,100.
The serious violations include failing to compile process safety information on instruments used as safeguards and on relief system design, ensure that recognized and good engineering practices are used, follow recommended process hazard analysis procedures, and inspect and test equipment identified as safeguards.
The repeat violation is for failing to review and certify operating procedures on an annual basis to ensure that current practices are being followed. A similar violation was cited in 2010.
The other-than-serious violation is for failing to develop safe work practices to control entrance into covered processes. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
Arkema employs about 2,400 workers who produce industrial chemicals at 32 facilities in the US and Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
OSHA Cites Sandwich Castings and Machine for Lack of Machine Guarding
OSHA has cited aluminum castings producer Trio Foundry Inc., which operates as Sandwich Castings and Machine, with 20 health and safety violations, including one willful and one repeat violation. A health inspection that began January 13 was initiated at the facility in Sandwich, Illinois, as part of OSHA’s Local Emphasis Program for Primary Metals. Upon finding several safety violations, OSHA subsequently opened a safety inspection on February 10. Proposed penalties total $113,300.
The willful safety violation is failing to protect the operator of a belt sander from caught-in hazards and rotating parts.
The repeat safety violation involves a lack of guarding on an abrasive grinder wheel. Similar violations at the same facility were cited in 2009.
Nine serious safety violations involve a lack of machine guarding, the documentation of lockout/tagout procedures for machines’ energy sources, proper electrical equipment maintenance, personal protective equipment and safety training for maintenance workers handling electrical equipment. Seven serious health violations involve using an unsecured propane tank as fuel for heat as well as failing to provide personal protective equipment against exposure and contact to molten metal, ensure adequate housekeeping to prevent aluminum dust accumulation on surfaces and floors, train and evaluate forklift drivers, and provide workers with hazardous chemical safety information and training in hazard communication.
Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to maintain a written and certified personal protective equipment hazard assessment as well as certification that employees received training in the use of the equipment.
In addition to the Sandwich facility, Aurora-based Trio Industries operates a foundry in Montgomery, Illinois. The Sandwich facility, where about 25 workers are employed, has been inspected by OSHA four other times since 2007.
OSHA Cites Recycling Company Following Combustible Dust Explosion, Two Injuries
OSHA has cited Electronic Recycling and Trading Co., with 14 serious violations after two workers were injured from a combustible dust explosion at the company’s work site in Austin, Texas. Proposed penalties total $60,060.
An inspection began on January 10 after an explosion at the company’s facility. Workers were sorting materials on the output conveyor when combustible dust generated by a nearby ring mill pulverizing machine caused an explosion that sent two workers to the hospital with severe burns.
The safety inspection violations include failing to provide approved and adequate dust collection and fire suppression systems for the ring mill; training for, and certification of, forklift operators; specific lockout/tagout and confined space entry procedures; and adequate housekeeping for the control of combustible dust accumulations.
Health violations include failing to implement a hearing conservation program, such as audiometric testing; ensure work surfaces were free of lead deposits; and implement a respiratory protection program.
Electronic Recycling and Trading employs about 30 workers who recycle electronic plastics.
A combustible dust explosion hazard may exist in a variety of industries, including food, grain, plastics, wood, or paper.
OSHA Cites Toxco for Lead Overexposure, Other Serious Violations
OSHA has cited Toxco Inc., for 14 serious safety and health violations at the company’s battery recycling facility in Lancaster, Ohio, including failing to protect workers from overexposure to lead and cadmium. Proposed penalties total $59,400.
OSHA initiated an inspection February 1 as a part of the agency’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to industries with high injury and illness rates. The violations found involve allowing workers to be exposed to lead at up to eight times the permissible exposure limit and to cadmium at more than twice the permissible exposure limit during an eight-hour period. Other violations include failing to install engineering controls and implement work practice controls to maintain workers’ exposure at levels below the permissible exposure limits, as well as monitor exposure levels on a periodic basis and repeat monitoring as needed. The company also has been cited for failing to evaluate the facility’s ventilation system and implement an effective respiratory protection program.
Headquartered in Anaheim, California, Toxco Inc., maintains recycling facilities in California, Tennessee, and British Columbia as well as Lancaster and Baltimore, Ohio. Toxco specializes in battery recycling and has been subject to four previous OSHA inspections including a 2003 inspection at its Baltimore, Ohio, site that resulted in citations for six violations.
OSHA Cites Marlite for Amputation Hazards at Manufacturing Plant
OSHA has cited Marlite Inc., with 12 safety violations, including one repeat violation for failing to properly guard machinery at its Dover, Ohio, plant, which manufactures doors, paneling, and windows. OSHA initiated an inspection in February under the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations. Proposed penalties total $56,000.
The repeat violation involves failing to provide machine guarding on several drill presses in the factory. Marlite initially was cited for this violation during a 2008 OSHA inspection.
Additionally, seven serious safety violations involve failing to anchor drill presses to the floor, provide proper fall protection, light exit signs, and provide standard railings on stairs.
Four other-than-serious violations have been cited for failing to provide injury/illness descriptions on OSHA 300 forms.
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