OSHA releases findings, penalties for deadly Chevron explosion - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

OSHA releases findings, penalties for deadly Chevron explosion

Posted: Updated:
Image source: Matt Defelice. Image source: Matt Defelice.
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued $24,000 in citations to Chevron USA, Inc. related to the November 15, 2013 explosion that left one worker dead at the company's Pascagoula refinery.

OSHA launched a month long investigation into the refinery after a processing unit exploded, killing 46-year-old Tonya Graddy of Semmes, AL. Graddy had been an employee at the refinery for five years.

This report gives us the first official glimpse into what happened early on that fateful November morning. OSHA officials tell us the catastrophic incident all started with a power outage. The report mentions an emergency shutdown that apparently took place in the furnace unit Graddy was working just before the explosion.

Officials say the emergency shutdown was needed after the plant went down due to a power outage, and a furnace exploded when workers were lighting a series of burners to bring the plant back online.

OSHA claims Chevron failed to provide clear instructions to operators for proper startup and use procedures after an emergency shutdown. The citation notification issued to Chevron by OSHA said the same startup procedures were used for normal startup and startup after an emergency shutdown.

OSHA also claims proper furnace purging procedures were not performed on the furnace that eventually exploded and killed Graddy. OSHA said Chevron did not provide clear documentation stating that every employee understood proper hazardous conditions training, and substitute management of change procedures did not address the impact of change on safety and health.

Going forward, Chevron is left with three options after receiving the citation notification last Thursday. Chevron has a 15 business day window to comply to the penalties, request an informal meeting with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

This incident was not the first tragedy to happen at Chevron's Pascagoula refinery. In August of 2007, a fire was ignited in one of two crude processing units which processed 330,000 barrels of crude oil each day. In 2003, an employee was killed on the job when he fell from scaffolding.

Chevron officials tell WLOX News they are still reviewing the citation notification.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • OSHA releases findings, penalties for deadly Chevron explosionMore>>

  • Investigation underway into Chevron's deadly fire in Pascagoula

    Investigation underway into Chevron's deadly fire in Pascagoula

    Friday, November 15 2013 10:01 PM EST2013-11-16 03:01:45 GMT
    What caused a deadly fire at Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula is still a mystery. Tonya Graddy, 46, of Semmes, Alabama lost her life in the accident, leaving workers and the community in shock.More >>
    What caused a deadly fire at Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula is still a mystery. State, local and federal investigators were at the refinery all day Friday searching for clues in this accident. The person killed was 46-year-old Tonya Graddy of Semmes, Alabama. Chevron workers and community members are in shock.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.