OSHA Motivated by Fatal Accident to Fine Company more than $250,000

The death of one worker and the injuries suffered by six others in a July 2001 tank explosion at Motiva Enterprises LLC's oil refinery in Delaware City, Del., results in OSHA fines of $259,000.

The death of one worker and the injuries suffered by six others in a July 2001 tank explosion at Motiva Enterprises LLC's oil refinery in Delaware City, Del., has prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to proposed penalties of $259,000.

OSHA alleges the company failed to inspect, repair and provide proper covers for tanks at the oil refinery, which employs more than 660 workers.

The agency responded immediately to the explosion, which occurred while workers were welding and cutting metal above a tank used to store sulfuric acid. The workers were employed by Washington Group International, Cleveland, a subcontractor performing maintenance work at the site.

Motiva was cited for three alleged willful violations, with a proposed penalty of $210,000. The three willful violations include: failure to conduct required internal tank inspections; failure to repair atmospheric storage tanks when evaluations indicated such repairs were necessary; and failure to fit openings at the top of the tank with vapor-tight caps or covers. The company also received seven serious violations, with a penalty of $49,000.

"Motiva failed to internally inspect Tank 393 in a timely manner despite its knowledge that the tank was long overdue for inspection, had a history of leaks and showed signs of deterioration," said Richard D. Soltan, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia.

Washington Group International Inc. was also cited for two serious violations, with proposed penalties totaling $14,000, for failure to contain sparks during hot work and failure to train employees engaged in hazardous waste clean up operations.

Both companies have 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to decide to comply, to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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