BP Cherry Point will not appeal safety citation

The Bellingham Business Journal

BP Cherry Point petroleum refinery will not appeal a citation issued in May against the company for 13 serious safety violations carrying a fine of $69,200.

BP has agreed to pay the fine and correct the hazards found by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) during an inspection at the refinery in November.

“I am pleased that BP has decided to move forward on correcting these problems,” said Michael Silverstein, assistant director for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “Appeals can take years to resolve and, under current state law, there are no requirements to abate hazards during the appeal process. BP has chosen, instead, to focus on improving safety at its worksite.”

L&I has now inspected all five refineries in the state. The work was part of the agency’s participation in the National Emphasis Program instituted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration in order to have all of the nation’s refineries inspected. The program began after several deadly events at refineries across the country.

The L&I inspection at BP Cherry Point focused on the refinery’s enormous hydrocracker process unit, which refines low-grade oil into gasoline. Twelve of the serious violations involving 160 instances were violations of regulations governing the management of highly hazardous chemicals, which are part of what is commonly referred to as the Process Safety Management Standard.

BP officials have agreed to correct all the problems identified by inspectors, although the complexity of the refinery operation means that for some of the issues, BP will have until August 1 to comply or must submit alternative plans to mitigate hazards that will require more time. Several corrections have already been made. L&I inspectors will follow up to confirm that all the hazards are corrected.


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