OSHA Fines Ohio Sunoco Refinery $330,000

OSHA proposed $330,000 in fines against Sunoco Inc.’s oil refinery in Oregon, Ohio, for alleged willful and serious workplace safety violations.

OSHA cited the refinery for 27 serious violations and three willful violations during a November 2007 inspection. The most critical citations were issued for hazards related to the size and design of pressure relief system; failing to implement a mechanical integrity program for pressure relief devices and fixed equipment; and failing to correct deficiencies associated with vessel and piping wall thicknesses.

"Injuries and fatalities from incidents at refineries are preventable," said Jule Hovi, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA will not tolerate employers who ignore safety hazards that threaten the lives and well-being of their employees."

Sunoco Inc. has approximately 500 employees at its Oregon refinery and 13,500 employees company-wide. OSHA has inspected this site five times since 1974. The agency also inspected Sunoco-owned and operated refinery complexes, petrochemical plants and bulk terminals 34 times since 1970. These inspections have resulted in more than 100 citations.

In a statement sent to OccupationalHazards.com, Sunoco said it was committed to working with OSHA to resolve their findings and that its management as well as its union representatives were “reviewing the report, and are looking at it as an opportunity to maintain [their] efforts at continuous improvement.”

The refinery also stated, “If following our evaluation we disagree with the violations, we will take the steps to contest them within 15 business days as is required by OSHA.”

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