US Department of Labor Cites Philadelphia Energy Solutions for Process Safety Management Hazards After Fire and Explosions

PHILADELPHIA, PA (STL.News) The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Philadelphia Energy Solutions for serious violations of safety and health hazards related to process safety management (PSM) following a fire and subsequent explosions at the company’s Girard Point Refinery Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June 2019.  The company faces $132,600 in penalties.

PSM encompasses requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals.  In this case, the chemicals were hydrofluoric acid and flammable hydrocarbons.  OSHA’s inspection found deficiencies in the refinery’s PSM program, including failing to establish or implement written procedures, insufficient hazard analysis and inadequate inspection of process equipment for highly hazardous chemicals used in the process.

“When employers fail to evaluate and address potential hazardous conditions associated with chemical processes, catastrophic events such as this can occur,” said OSHA Philadelphia Area Director Theresa Downs.  “OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard requires that employers conduct regular inspections to ensure process equipment meets industry standards.”

OSHA’s Process Safety Management webpage provides resources on recognizing, evaluating and controlling process hazards.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.