PaintSquare.com
      | Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise
  

 

Download our free e-book! Quality Control

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Fines in Fatal Blast Contested

Friday, January 24, 2014

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

A Louisiana chemical plant is challenging fines issued in an explosion that killed two workers and injured 80 last summer, authorities said.

Williams Olefins' Geismar, LA, plant exploded June 13, 2013. Six months later, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it was citing the company for six process safety management standard violations, one willful and five serious, for a total of $99,000 in proposed penalties.

The company has contested the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, OSHA spokesperson Juan Rodriguez confirmed Thursday (Jan. 23).

Geismar explosion
Photos: CSB

OSHA cited Williams Olefins for six process safety management standard violations after its Geismar, LA, chemical plant exploded in June, killing two workers. The company has contested the citations.

Process safety management encompasses a detailed set of requirements and procedures for employers to follow to address hazards associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals, OSHA said. In this case, that chemical was propylene.

Two Deaths, Ongoing Investigation

Williams Olefins is a subsidiary of Williams Partners LP, headquartered in Tulsa, OK. The company has about 4,700 employees corporatewide, according to OSHA.

The Geismar, LA, plant specializes in the production of natural gas, ethylene and propylene and employs about 127 workers.

Zachary Green, 29, died in the explosion. He was an operator who started working with the company in October 2012. The second victim, 47-year-old Scott Thrower, died at the hospital the next day.

"Williams Olefins violated safety and health standards which, when followed, can protect workers from hazardous chemicals," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge.

"It is the employer's responsibility to find and fix workplace safety violations and to ensure the safety of its workers. Failing to do so cost two workers their lives."

Tome Droege, a Williams Olefins spokesperson, told The Advocate, "Although a notice of contest has been filed, we anticipate future discussions with OSHA to finalize this matter. He added that the company had had discussions with OSHA before the notice was filed.

'Catastrophic Failure'

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is still investigating. CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso met with the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on June 27, 2013, telling them that "there was a catastrophic failure involving a heat exchanger and associated piping which broke loose from a distillation tower."

Williams Olefins plant

The CSB is still investigating the explosion but has said that it stemmed from a heat exchanger failure and piping that broke loose from a distillation tower.

Williams Olefins confirmed in December that it had received the citations and was carefully reviewing OSHA's analysis and findings.

"Williams cooperated in a full and transparent manner to support OSHA's investigation, and we are in the process of reviewing the analysis," said John Dearborn, senior VP of NGL and Petchem Services.

The Violations

The willful violation, OSHA's highest level of infraction, was cited for failing to develop clear, written procedures for how to change and put idle pressure vessels into service. That violation carries a $70,000 proposed penalty. A willful violation is one OSHA says is committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The five serious violations allege:

  • Inadvertently mixing hot quench water with propylene ($7,000);
  • Failing to provide appropriate pressure protection for a pressure vessel ($7,000);
  • Failing to complete a process hazard analysis to address the opening of hot quench water flow into a pressure vessel ($7,000);
  • Failing to properly document workplace training ($3,000); and
  • Failing to promptly correct deficiencies related to process safety management discovered by an internal compliance audit team ($5,000).

According to OSHA, serious violations occur when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Explosions; Fatalities; OSHA; Petrochemical Plants; Pipelines; Polypropylene; U.S. Chemical Safety Board

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Bullard

The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable


Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.


SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
http://www.sspc.org/

Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !


Nationwide Overspray
Profession Overspray Removal Services

The Finest Name in Safe Overspray Removal. We specialize in removing all contaminants from any surface. Family Owned and Operated for 33 years! Fully insured. Satisfaction is guaranteed.


US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.


RPB Respiratory
AN INSTANTLY CLEAN VISOR? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

With RPB Safety’s new Nova 3 Cassette Lens System which has been specifically designed to save you time and money! See the benefits for yourself now!


Commercial Sand Blasting & Painting Ltd.
Reliable Service & Superior Workmanship

We’re ready to meet any of your protective coating and lining needs. We can work on your site or in our facilities, with large shops (60,000 sq ft), 40 acres of yard space, and cranes and forklifts on site.


GMA Garnet USA
GMA Garnet™
Natural Abrasives

- Superior cleaning
  performance
- Even Profile
- Low Dust
- Cost-Effective
- Environmentally friendly
- Recyclable up to 5 times
Tel : +1 832 243 9300


HoldTight Solutions Inc.
NO FLASH RUST -
NO CONTAMINANTS

Our HoldTight®102 salt remover & flash rust preventer prevents flash
rust by removing surface contaminants. It has no equal; only wannabees.
Contact us for your
nearest distributor.
(800) 319.8802 sales@holdtight.com


Minerals Research & Recovery

HIGH PERFORMANCE ABRASIVES


“Made in the USA!”

Why recycle waste from other countries? Go FASTER, CLEANER, at 1/3 THE COST with MR&R “All-American” Sharpshot®HP!!

WATCH THE VIDEO

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com