Murphy Oil, OSHA Reach Settlement

Following a 6-month inspection of its Superior, Wis., refinery that uncovered various safety violations, Murphy Oil USA Inc. agreed to pay $179,100 in OSHA fines and take corrective action to eliminate unsafe working conditions.

The inspection, which started in August 2007 as part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program for petroleum refineries, found deactivated alarms meant to alert operators of failing positive pressure systems. In addition to ensuring these alarms remain activated and continuously monitored, Murphy Oil also agreed to correct issues related to fall protection, emergency action and response plans, lockout/tagout procedures, firefighting training and safety management procedures.

Dave Podratz, manager of the Superior refinery, told Occupational Hazards that many of the recommended improvements are documentation and program-driven. He indicated Murphy Oil addressed and corrected a number of violations even before the 6-month inspection was over, but that they still have improvements to make, including working to “document the things we're doing correctly.”

Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire, Wis., said the agency was “pleased that Murphy is taking quick corrective action to ensure a safe working environment,” and that “the company has committed to long-term improvements in its safety and health management systems.”

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