The 10th U.S. District Court on Tuesday confirmed citations to an Oklahoma oil refinery after an explosion killed two workers in 2012.
The incident stems from alleged workplace safety violations at a Wynnewood, Oklahoma, refinery operated by Wynnewood Refining. Co. LLC after workers were found to incorrectly start a boiler, resulting in an explosion that killed one worker immediately and another 28 days after the incident, according to documents in the Secretary of Labor v. Wynnewood Refining Co. LLC and Work Environment Review filed in Denver.
The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on March 28 confirmed 12 citations alleging violations of various provisions of the OSHA Process Safety Management Standard,
confirmed all violations as serious ̵
Legal experts said at the time that the review committee's decision could have greater implications for the process safety management standard.
In his second appeal, now in federal court, Wynnewood continued to argue that the process safety management standard only applies to processes involving "a threshold amount of highly hazardous chemicals", of which the boiler did not explode, according to documents.
The Commission of Inquiry, in a decision upheld by the Federal Board of Appeal on Tuesday, found that the boiler's proximity to chemicals is part of a process because it was "located so that a very dangerous chemical could be involved in a potential release" "According to documents.
By confirming that the infringements were not considered to be repeated, as claimed by the Secretary of State, the Board of Appeal ruled that" substantial evidence "supports the Review Committee's finding that" there was no substantial continuity between Wynnewood LLC "and its predecessor. similar name, Wynnewood Inc.
In its decision, the Board of Appeal noted in part that the Review Commission "showed that the working conditions under Wynnewood Inc. and Wynnewood LLC were" the same "" but the Commission "also emphasized Wynnewood LLC's safety changes at the refinery and, as discussed, these changes were initiated by … managers. "
The Audit Commission" credited the "more formalized training programs", "$ 130 million in equipment upgrades" and the "safety culture shift at the refinery" "as a result of new ownership, according to documents.
An appellate judge abstained and wrote that since "the boiler itself" did not contain any very dangerous chemicals, "I would leave the eleven violations with the boiler." The judge also agreed with the Labor Department's "application of increased penalties for repeated violations" and wrote that the Commission and the Board of Appeal "incorrectly applied" several legal factors regarding the continuity of workplace practice and that the reference unrelated to the forehead should fall under
he that the decision "does not take into account whether employees in the new unit acted differently than they had before. This factor focuses instead on whether the employees dealing with security were the same in both the old and new units."