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Safety

Chevron’s Safety Culture Rapped By Investigators

by Andrea Widener
February 2, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 5

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Credit: CSB
A corroded pipe led to a 2012 fire at Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, Calif.
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Credit: CSB
A corroded pipe led to a 2012 fire at Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, Calif.

Local government officials need to step up their oversight of hazardous facilities after a devastating 2012 accident at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., that endangered 19 workers and sent 15,000 members of the public to the hospital. That is one conclusion of the third and final draft report on the accident issued by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) late last month. The board says voluntary industry standards set by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, are “inconsistent and permissively written.” CSB recommends stronger requirements to prevent corrosion failures and improve safety response guidelines. In addition, the report details how Chevron failed to identify a sulfidation corrosion problem that caused carbon steel pipes carrying crude oil to burst. It explains that the facility had no leak response guidance or formal protocol for operations personnel, refinery management, or emergency responders to refer to when determining how to handle a process leak. It recommends that Chevron take more corporate responsibility for oversight of internal safety guidelines and adoption of good industry practices.

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