OSHA initiated the investigation as part of its National Emphasis Program on petroleum refinery process safety management. As a result of the investigation, the company has been issued four repeat violations, with a penalty of $75,000, and nine serious violations, with a penalty of $32,500.
“Valero is strongly encouraged to address the identified hazards to help ensure that workers at this site are not at risk of injury or possible death,” said Domenick Salvatore, area director of OSHA’s Wilmington Office.
The repeat violations include the company’s failure to conduct and document inspections and tests on process equipment, conduct the proper process hazard analysis (PHA) and maintain adequate process safety information. 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 include the company’s failure to address PHA findings and recommendations, include contract employees and the factors that contributed to an incident in incident investigations, use the proper procedure and update process safety information when making a process change. 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 Delaware City oil refinery, which employs 650 workers, 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. The investigation was conducted by OSHA’s Wilmington Area Office; telephone: 302-573-6518.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA’s role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education.