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Refinery in controversial review commission ruling files appeal

Posted On: Jun. 4, 2019 1:36 PM CST

Refining Oklahoma

A refining company at the center of a controversial Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission decision has filed a request for review with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Wynnewood, Oklahoma-based Wynnewood Refining Co. LLC and its successors are petitioning for review of the part of the commission’s March 28 decision that regards the “applicability of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management Standard… to the ‘Wickes’ steam boiler located at Wynnewood’s petroleum refinery in Wynnewood, Oklahoma,” the petition, filed May 28, states. 

Specifically, the review commission affirmed several safety citations stemming from a deadly oil refinery explosion in 2012, categorizing the violations under OSHA’s process safety management standard, even though the explosion occurred at one of the refinery’s boilers, an onsite utility operation workplace that safety and legal experts say is typically not included in process safety management.

The review commission affirmed in total 12 citations and a $58,000 fine against the Wynnewood. Two workers died because of the explosion, an event investigators testified was a result of workers improperly starting a boiler, according to documents in Secretary of Labor v. Wynnewood Refining Co. LLC.

The attorneys involved could not immediately be reached for comment.