Murphy Oil, OSHA Reach Settlement

Following a six-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 OccupationalHazards.com 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 six-month inspection was over, but that they still have improvements to make, including working to “document the things we’re doing correctly.”

“We are pleased that Murphy is taking quick corrective action to ensure a safe working environment,” said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire, Wis. “The company has committed to long-term improvements in its safety and health management systems, which we hope will place the company among the best in the industry.”

“It’s a huge effort on the part of OSHA inspectors, and a huge effort on our part,” Podratz said of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program for petroleum refineries. “It will help us to be an even safer facility.”

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