The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) cited the BP Cherry Point petroleum refinery in Blaine, Wash., for six violations, including one willful violation of workplace safety and health rules related to management of pipeline and refinery processes. The proposed penalties total $81,500.
L&I began the inspection in February after a major fire caused the refinery to shut down for a period of time. One employee was nearby when the fire erupted, but he was able to escape without harm.
The fire occurred when a corroded deadleg pipe ruptured. Deadlegs are pipes that aren’t often used but still must be monitored for integrity for when they are needed to carry material used in the refining process.
L&I cited the company for a willful violation for not ensuring that inspection and testing procedures for process piping followed recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices for all deadleg piping circuits. The proposed penalty for the willful violation is $65,000.
A willful violation is the most significant civil classification that can be issued. It is used when L&I alleges that the violation was committed with intentional disregard or plain indifference or substitution of judgment with respect to worker safety and health regulations.
The five additional violations cited were for failing to comply with process safety management standards, the requirements for managing hazards associated with processes that use highly hazardous chemicals.
The BP Cherry Point refinery reopened in May following repairs and maintenance. It is the third-largest refinery on the West Coast, producing 20 percent of Washington's gasoline needs. It supplies the majority of jet fuel for Sea-Tac, Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia, airports.
The company has until Sept. 13 to appeal the citation.