Arkansas refinery faces $165,600 OSHA fine for alleged safety and health violations

RP news wires
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to Martin Operating Partnership LP of Smackover, Ark., for one alleged willful and 21 alleged serious violations of federal health and safety regulations. Penalties total $165,600.

"This company failed to follow OSHA's standards and procedures as they relate to process safety management," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock, Ark. "Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. In this case, it is fortunate that no serious injuries or fatalities occurred."

OSHA's Little Rock Area Office began its inspection on March 23 at the company's facility in Smackover as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program for Process Safety Management of Refineries. The facility produces naphthenic crude oil and employs about 65 workers. It is owned by Martin Midstream Partners LP, which is headquartered in Kilgore, Texas.

The willful violation is for failing to maintain process safety information for the design of various pressure vessels such as the atmospheric distillation unit, vacuum unit, desalter and steam blowdown drum. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Serious violations include failing to provide the required information for changes on process safety management, provide an initial process hazard analysis, establish procedures on the integrity of process equipment, ensure that written operating procedures were made available regarding various equipment, ensure that workers entering confined spaces were provided with a prompt means of rescue in the event of an emergency, and to provide required respiratory protection and personal protective equipment. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Martin Operating Partnership has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Little Rock Area Office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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