The Occupational Health and Safety Administration announced that it would double the number of workers trained to perform safety inspections at oil refineries. The announcement came only after a report by the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board chastised the agency’s inspection of British Petroleum’s refinery in Texas. An explosion at the Texas refinery in 2005 killed 15 workers and injured more than 170.
The Board’s report stated that the BP Refinery in Texas City, Texas had several fatal incidents in 30 years but that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had only completed one safety inspection there since 1998. The report claimed OSHA did few of the comprehensive safety inspections between 1995 to 2005. Based on these findinge, the Board recommended that the OSHA increase the number of inspections and government inspectors.
After a hearing on the Texas City disaster by the House Committee on Education and Labor, Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said more than 160 agency workers had been trained “in the principles of conducting a process safety management inspection,” a number expected to reach 280 by August.
“These staff will ensure that under a new national emphasis program, every refinery under OSHA’s jurisdiction is inspected,” Foulke said. The agency and its state partners conducted more than 100 refinery inspections last year and have done 50 in fiscal 2007.