Any time that there is a workplace accident that leaves multiple people injured, an investigation often occurs. Those investigations can take awhile and cause interruptions to facility operations. In the case of one California facility, a workplace fire led to six people being injured on the job and also led to the facility only running at 60 percent while OSHA reviewed the situation.
The fire that injured the six workers also sent 15,000 other people headed to hospitals seeking relief from apparent breathing problems. A pipe rupturing was to blame for the incident. However, authorities contend the company, Chevron, was aware that the pipe was corroded more than 10 years ago. There was also an order from OSHA for the facility to not use the particular unit that was the source of the fire.
While the facility is currently free to resume full operation, the company was fined the top amounts of $1 million. Authorities also determined the company did not protect their workers in this case because they did not replace the pipe in question. Chevron released a statement essentially saying they have taken steps to strengthen safety.
While the extent of the worker injuries was not fully noted, under California workers’ compensation laws they are eligible for benefits since they were injured on the job. The investigation into this incident and ensuing fines levied against Chevron may help usher in safety standards that may help prevent future incidents such as this. The workers in this case may find the workers’ compensation benefits they receive helpful for covering medical expenses and lost wages.
Source: nbcbayarea.com, “Cal/OSHA Clears Way for Chevron Refinery to Resume Production,” Monte Francis, April 3, 2013