OSHA Cites BP Amoco Following Triple Fatality

Sept. 20, 2001
Exposing employees to explosion hazards has led to $141,000 in\r\nproposed penalties against BP Amoco Polymers Inc. by OSHA.

Exposing employees to explosion hazards has led to $141,000 in proposed penalties against BP Amoco Polymers Inc. by OSHA. The alleged willful and serious citations for violation of safety standards resulted from an inspection of a March 13 explosion and fire that killed three workers at the company''s Clanton Road plant.

OSHA cited BP Amoco for two alleged willful violations with proposed penalties of $125,000 for exposing employees to the release of hazardous energy.

According to the agency, the accident occurred as three workers began removing bolts from a drum in preparation for maintenance and cleaning. Unknown to the men, the drum was overfilled with a polymer salt mixture which continued to react and clogged lines into and out of the vessel, eventually producing an elevated pressure condition inside the drum. Failure to initiate proper lockout/tagout procedures before attempting to remove the bolts from the cover plate contributed to this accident.

In 1990, before operations began at the unit, Amoco studies indicated the need for an effective indicator to measure the amount of mixture in the drum as a protection against hazards caused by overfilling the vessel. An effective device was never installed.

Again in August 2000 after two employees were seriously burned by a hot liquid release, recommendations were made -- but never implemented -- for an operations checklist to verify that vessels were fully drained, depressurized and energy sources disconnected before cleaning and maintenance began.

"This tragedy could have been avoided if the company had adhered to their own internal audit recommendations that improvements were needed in the lockout/tagout program," said William Grimes, OSHA''s Atlanta-East area director. "Safety studies have little value if resulting recommendations go unheeded."

The company received three serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $16,000 for failing to: properly install pressure relief devices; require proper face protection for employees working with corrosive materials; and properly train employees on lockout/tagout.

BP Amoco, headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., is a division of London, England-based British Petroleum. The company, which manufactures plastics materials and resins, has 15 working days to contest OSHA''s citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

by Virginia Foran

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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