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CSB Video Urges Refinery Safety

by Jeff Johnson
April 11, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 15

Credit: CSB
Fire at this Tesoro refinery killed seven workers one year ago.
Credit: CSB
Fire at this Tesoro refinery killed seven workers one year ago.

On the one-year anniversary of the Tesoro refinery accident that killed seven workers in Anacortes, Wash., the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is urging the oil and gas production and refining industry to better manage its operations and improve safety. CSB also issued a brief video, on the April 2, 2010, Tesoro refinery accident and noted that the U.S. refining sector has a property loss rate three times higher than that of refineries operating in other countries. CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso notes that the accident occurred during routine maintenance to bring a heat exchanger on-line when a nearly 40-year-old piece of equipment failed, spewing hydrogen and naphtha, which ignited and burned. Three workers were killed on the spot and four died later (C&EN, April 12, 2010, page 7). The company has been fined $2.39 million for “serious” and “willful” violations, the largest industrial safety fine ever levied by the state. Moure-Eraso urges refineries to implement robust mechanical integrity programs with frequent inspections and to maintain an open safety culture that encourages reporting and investigation of near-misses and loss-of-containment incidents.


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