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Chevron settles Cal/OSHA citations for over $1 million

Posted On: Jul. 25, 2017 12:16 PM CST

California regulators and Chevron Corp. have settled workplace safety and health citations issued in relation to a 2012 refinery fire for more than $1 million.

The Oakland, California-based California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the San Ramon, California-based oil major reached an agreement that resolves Chevron’s appeal of citations issued in January 2013 following an investigation into a fire that occurred at the Richmond refinery on Aug. 6, 2012, Cal/OSHA said Monday in a statement. The agency cited Chevron for 17 workplace safety and health violations, including nine willful and six serious violations. 

The negotiated settlement requires Chevron to institute measures to ensure process safety at the Richmond refinery, including replacing all carbon steel piping that transports corrosive liquids with chrome-alloy piping, which has better corrosion resistance, at an estimated cost of $15 million. It also requires the company to develop and implement criteria and procedures to monitor equipment to alert operators when equipment should be replaced, at an estimated cost of $5 million. 

Chevron also agreed to provide specialized hands-on training on incident command situational awareness and hazard recognition for all Chevron Fire Department personnel at the Richmond refinery with rank of lieutenant and above, and at least eight hours of in-person training on process safety management for operators at the refinery beyond the training already provided.

The company will also pay the citation penalties originally proposed by Cal/OSHA in January 2013 totaling $782,700, plus an additional $227,300.

In exchange, Cal/OSHA agreed to withdraw nine of the 17 violations cited, including four willful-serious category violations, three serious and two general violations, and amend five of the remaining eight violations cited. 

The agreement meets and exceeds California’s refinery regulation, which aims to reduce risks at these facilities and was approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board in May and is currently pending approval by the Office of Administrative Law, according to Cal/OSHA. 

“The settlement requires Chevron to exceed current and upcoming requirements and to use new and innovative methods recently developed by engineering experts in the petroleum refining industry to ensure the safe operation of process safety equipment,” Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said in a statement. “This means safer operations at the refinery, which will help protect refinery workers and those who work and live nearby.”

A Chevron spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.