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Region 6 News Release: OSHA-08-316-DAL
March 25, 2008
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: 214-767-4776, ext. 222 or 221


U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA fines Wynnewood Refining Co. in Oklahoma for multiple safety and health violations
Two OSHA investigations result in penalties totaling $350,500

WYNNEWOOD, Okla. -- The alleged failure of Wynnewood Refining Co. to protect its employees from safety and health hazards has resulted in a combined total of 50 alleged violations of standards following two separate investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Proposed penalties total $350,500.

"Wynnewood Refining did not follow OSHA's process safety management standards and procedures," said Dean McDaniel, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "We have inspected the company five times in the last two years. It is fortunate that no injuries or fatalities have occurred."

Citations resulting from an inspection begun Sept. 25, 2007, include 28 serious, three repeat and four other-than-serious violations. The inspection, which was part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on safety management for refineries, brought proposed penalties totaling $187,500.

The serious violations include the company's failure to: provide employees with information relating to process safety management elements; provide maintenance on deficient equipment; address safety-instrumented-systems in process hazard analysis updates; provide a safe place to discharge flammable liquids from pressure vessels; provide equipment that complies with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices; address facility sitting in the process hazard analysis; and develop and implement safe work practices to control the entrance, presence and exit of contract employers and employees. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition about which the employer knew or should have known.

The repeat violations include Wynnewood Refining's failure to implement written procedures to address management changes to process chemicals and technology, and not inspecting self-contained breathing apparatuses. Repeat violations are issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same, or a substantially similar, violation that has become a final order.

OSHA issued other-than-serious citations for failing to protect access from fixed stairways to elevated work floors with handrails and not identifying confined spaces. Other-than-serious violations are issued when a violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health but is not serious in nature.

The agency previously issued citations to Wynnewood Refining for an inspection that began Sept. 20, 2007, and resulted in it becoming part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on safety management for refineries. Proposed penalties totaled $163,000 for 12 alleged serious and three alleged repeat violations.

The serious violations include the company's failure to utilize a reliable gauging system to report crude oil tank levels and flows to the operator control room, and not adequately maintaining tank level and flow monitoring systems. Repeat citations were issued for failing to: address process hazard analysis recommendations for the sulphur recovery unit; implement management of change procedures for a refinery structure; and investigate each incident that could result in a catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals.

Wynnewood Refining, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Denver, Colo.-based Gary-Williams Energy Corp., is an oil refinery that produces gasoline, propane, propylene, butane, fuel oils and solvents. The company has approximately 260 employees company-wide and about 185 in Wynnewood.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Oklahoma City, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards may call OSHA's Oklahoma City Area Office at 405-278-9560 or OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to employees.

OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, having conducted more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 19