Refinery oversight assailed

first_imgThe CSB said that although the Texas City plant had several fatal accidents over the past 30 years, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration had done only one process safety management inspection at the refinery – in 1998. The report said OSHA made other, unplanned inspections after accidents, complaints or referrals – it didn’t say how many – but that those visits were typically narrower and shorter than planned inspections. The CSB recommends that OSHA increase both the number of comprehensive safety inspections and the number of people to do them. “OSHA’s national focus on inspecting facilities with high injury rates, while important, has resulted in reduced attention to preventing less frequent, but catastrophic, process safety incidents such as the one at Texas City,” the report said. HOUSTON – The U.S. agency responsible for worker safety failed to inspect plants with enough care and frequency to prevent an accident like the 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery that killed 15 people and injured 170, the worst U.S. industrial accident since 1990, a government report said Tuesday. Companies have plenty of safeguards for individual workers’ safety, but have a potentially deadly lack of sound procedures to measure process safety, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, which released the report. “Process safety programs to protect the lives of workers and the public deserve the same level of attention, investment and scrutiny as companies now dedicate to managing their financial controls,” CSB Chairwoman Carolyn W. Merritt said at a news conference on the agency’s final report into the March 23, 2005, explosion in Texas City. The 335-page report also blamed BP, the London-based oil giant, for cost cutting that left the plant vulnerable to catastrophe. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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