An oil refinery accident took the lives of 15 workers and injured more than 100. Six months later, an OSHA inspected another plant owned by the same company and found it had not corrected any of the problems that had led to the fatal disaster.
Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a major campaign of refinery inspections and plans to inspect every plant in its jurisdiction.
The policy changes should affect New Jersey worker safety and benefit the residents of New Jersey as well.
In 2007 OSHA has inspected 50 refineries so far. In 2006, it conducted 100 refinery inspections. It has embarked on a campaign of hiring and training new inspectors to meet its goals of inspecting every plant under the new National Emphasis Program.
So far, said Edwin G. Foulke Jr., Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, more than 160 OSHA staff have been trained in conducting inspections according to the principles of the Process safety Management (PSM) inspection guidelines. By August of this year, he added, “we will have 280 PSM-trained inspectors.”
In the spring of 2005, an oil refinery owned and operated by BP outside Houston, TX, exploded. More than 100 workers were inured and another 15 were killed. Flames shot up thousands of feet above the site, and debris and ash rained down on the neighboring area. The plant had been refining 433,000 gallons of crude oil daily. The explosion took 3% of the country’s total capacity off line. That in turn contributed to high prices at the gas pump in the summer of 2006.
Six months later, OSHA inspected another BP refinery, this one in Ohio. It found that BP had made no corrections to the problems that had resulted in the Texas refinery tragedy. The agency decided that oil companies would not make any changes to their safety procedures voluntarily, so the tough new inspection plan was inaugurated.
If you are required to operate an ATV or All-Terrain Vehicle as part of your job, then there is some important safety information that should be aware of. With industries such as law enforcement, facilities management, construction and agriculture increasing their use of ATVs, as well as other industries, it is an issue that affects many workers, both now, and in the future.
A New Jersey OSHA alert has highlighted some of the hazards workers can encounter while operating ATVs. A bulletin that was recently released also provides training and operating guidelines that employers can put in place to ensure that their employees stay safe from accidents involving ATVs.
Although most reported ATV accidents have been related to recreational use of the vehicles, the New Jersey OSHA alert reports that with increasing use of the ATVs in the workplace employees need to be aware of the hazards. Many of these accidents had deadly consequences, so employees should also be aware of these safety guidelines.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and New Jersey OSHA, report that workers are not always trained to use ATVs. They warn that, because ATVs are more often used in recreational pursuits, sometimes even by children, safety issues relating to ATVs are often not taken seriously in the workplace.
If you operate an ATV in the workplace there are some procedures you can adopt that will help to keep you safe. Always wear a safety helmet when operating the vehicle.
Never use the vehicle to transport people from one location to another. ATVs are designed to carry only one person.
Do not carry heavy loads on the front or back storage racks. This can cause the vehicle to become unstable. Do not modify the vehicle, such as by attaching machinery to the front or back. Again, this can cause the vehicle to become unstable.
Make sure that you are aware of the manufacture’s operating guidelines, and do not deviate from them. If your employer does not already have an ATV training program in place, suggest one.