Issue Date: June 18, 2007
OSHA to inspect petroleum refineries
OSHA is beginning a new National Emphasis Program for the inspection of petrochemical plants to eliminate risks from the release of highly hazardous chemicals. The workplace health and safety agency says it will conduct 81 refinery inspections over the next two years to improve process safety management in the industry. "By initiating this program, we are taking positive steps to maximize the protection of employees and eliminate workplace hazards at petroleum refiners," OSHA chief Edwin G. Foulke Jr. said in a statement. Over the past 15 years, OSHA notes, there have been 36 catastrophic releases or explosions at refineries that led to 52 deaths and 250 injuries, including the March 23, 2005, explosion at the Texas City, Texas, BP refinery that killed 15 workers. The agency also has regional programs operating in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico focusing on safety in oil, gas drilling, and petrochemicals operations.
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