According to OSHA's investigation, Young Refinery Corp. had hired two contractors, Process Piping Services and Metro Welding, to perform welding and cutting operations.
On June 25, a Process Piping Services employee was welding the top of a petroleum tank when sparks from the operation ignited fumes emanating from a nearby storage tank. The worker was severely burned by the ensuing fire and explosion.
"Employers have a serious responsibility to follow safety standards and protect their workers," said Andre Richards, OSHA's Atlanta-West area office director. "Had Young Refinery and Process Piping Services taken proper safety precautions, this worker might have avoided serious injury."
OSHA issued 26 serious citations to Young Refinery Corp. with proposed penalties totaling $46,250. The citations included alleged failures to: develop and implement a written process safety management plan; prepare an emergency action plan; conduct a pre-start safety review and hazard evaluation, and provide proper safety equipment and training to its employees and the contractors' employees. The company also did not have a "hot work" permit, which documents that the welding and cutting are being done in compliance with fire prevention and protection regulations.
Process Piping Services received four serious citations with proposed penalties of $5,750 for allegedly failing to: conduct an inspection before beginning work; establish a fire watch during the operation; provide employees working on top of tanks with fall protection; and have a written hazard communication program for chemicals and materials used by employees.
Metro Welding received four serious citations, similar to those issued to Process Piping Services, with proposed penalties of $4,250, for safety hazards observed during the OSHA investigation.
The companies have 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, seek an informal hearing with the area OSHA director, or pay the fine.