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Region 2 News Release
09-1219-NEW (osha 09-220)
Oct. 9, 2009
Contact: Leni Fortson
Phone: 215-861-5102

US Labor Department's OSHA cites ConocoPhillips for repeat workplace safety and health hazards

LINDEN, N.J. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited ConocoPhillips Bayway Refinery for alleged workplace safety and health violations, proposing a total of $92,000 in penalties.

OSHA initiated a complaint investigation on April 23 at the facility. As a result of the investigation, the company has been issued citations for three repeat violations, with a penalty of $75,000, and four serious citations, with a penalty of $17,000.

"The identified violations leave employees at the refinery at risk of accidents that could result in injury or possible death," said Patricia Jones, area director of OSHA's Avenel Office. "Employees are entitled to a safe and healthy workplace."

The repeat violations include the company's failure to implement safe operating procedures, failure to implement inspection and testing procedures, and failure to update piping and instrumentation diagrams after process changes. OSHA issues repeat violations when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order issued to the same employer within the previous three years. All previous citations were issued at the Linden site.

The serious violations reflect deficiencies in the company's process safety management program as well as the lack of a comprehensive safety and health management system at the facility. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

The Linden, N.J., petroleum refinery employs 830 workers.

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