BP cited for willful safety violation at Wash. refinery

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) fined BP more than $80,000 after citing the company's Cherry Point refinery with six violations, including one “willful violation”, of workplace safety and health rules, the agency announced on Thursday.

L&I began the inspection in February after a major fire caused the 225,000 bpd refinery to shut down. One employee was nearby when the fire erupted, but he avoided injury.

The proposed penalties, related to management of pipeline and refinery processes, total $81,500, according to the agency.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said the company has completed an investigation of the accident and made changes to its equipment and operations.

“The piping involved in the accident has been replaced and all lines in similar service were thoroughly inspected,” he said.

A willful violation is the most significant civil classification that can be issued. It is used, the agency says, when L&I alleges that the violation was committed with intentional disregard or plain indifference or substitution of judgment with respect to worker safety and health regulations.

The fire occurred when a corroded “deadleg” pipe ruptured. L&I cited BP for a willful violation for not ensuring that inspection and testing procedures for process piping followed recognized and generally-accepted engineering practices for all deadleg piping circuits.

The proposed penalty for the willful violation is $65,000.

The five additional violations cited were for failing to comply with process safety management standards.

BP has until Sept. 13 to appeal the citation.

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