Penalties proposed in terminal fatality at MFA Oil bulk storage plant
Sep 1, 2005 12:00 PM
MFA Oil Co, Columbia MO, faces $135,000 in fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after a transport driver died in a fire and explosion at the company's bulk storage plant Jan 7, 2005, according to OSHA.
The driver was off-loading unleaded gasoline into a 12,000-gallon above-ground storage tank when the tank ruptured, causing a loss of contents with subsequent fire and explosion. The driver suffered burns over 90% of his body, according to OSHA.
The citations and proposed fines follow an OSHA inspection of the incident and charges MFA with two willful and two serious violations of safety standards.
One willful citation alleged the company exposed workers to hazards by not having the tank vehicle off-loading area separated from aboveground storage tanks that contained flammable liquids.
The second willful violation concerned failure to conduct inspections and maintenance of the tank pressure vent/overfill alarm and emergency vent.
Inspections of the pressure vent/overfill alarm and emergency vent are required to ensure they are unobstructed and operational during loading/off-loading operations, and especially during freezing weather conditions.
Obstruction of pressure vents can lead to tank structural damage, resulting in product spill, personal injury, property damage, fire, and explosion, according to OSHA.
Use of valves and fittings constructed of low-melting-temperature materials without protection from fire exposure, and lack of an emergency response plan comprise the alleged violations for which OSHA issued the citations.
MFA Oil Co has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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