Stricter Safety Rules Proposed To Protect Washington Refinery Workers

Aug. 11, 2023
Environmental activists and unions push for refinery safety rules amid hazardous chemical concerns, Washington proposes stricter regulations.

An article in Cascadia Daily News reports that environmental activists and unions are advocating for stricter safety rules for oil refinery workers dealing with hazardous chemicals. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries proposed updated regulations in June to enhance safety for workers at the state's five refineries, including BP and Phillips 66 facilities. The plan aims to prevent catastrophic releases of toxic, flammable, or explosive chemicals. This initiative was prompted by a 2010 explosion at the Tesoro Anacortes refinery that killed seven people, deemed preventable by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Other refinery incidents causing environmental damage and harm to communities have spurred calls for more stringent rules. Activists emphasized that such accidents affect regions beyond refinery boundaries. State Senator Liz Lovelett highlighted the inherent risk of the industry and stressed the importance of prioritizing worker safety and community welfare.

The proposed changes include mandated hazard analyses, increased employee training, machine integrity checks and additional safety reviews. The amendments aim to comprehensively address potential hazards and failures. The proposal also emphasizes training employees in safety hazards and emergency procedures at least every three years.

Former industry workers testified in favor of the changes, emphasizing the need to prevent avoidable accidents. The proposal seeks to foster collaboration among employers, employees and regulators to enhance safety practices.

Despite support from union members, activists and refinery employees, a representative from the Western States Petroleum Association opposed the proposed guidelines. These regulations could potentially be adopted by October 17. The proposed rules acknowledge the industry's technological advancements and aim to improve safety by proactive risk reduction.

Residents have opportunities to engage through hearings and written comments, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive decision-making process.

Sponsored Recommendations

Keys to Improving Safety in Chemical Processes (PDF)

Many facilities handle dangerous processes and products on a daily basis. Keeping everything under control demands well-trained people working with the best equipment.

Get Hands-On Training in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment

Enhance the training experience and increase retention by training hands-on in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment. Build skills here so you have them where and when it matters...

Managing and Reducing Methane Emission in Upstream Oil & Gas

Measurement Instrumentation for reducing emissions, improving efficiency and ensuring safety.

Micro Motion 4700 Coriolis Configurable Inputs and Outputs Transmitter

The Micro Motion 4700 Coriolis Transmitter offers a compact C1D1 (Zone 1) housing. Bluetooth and Smart Meter Verification are available.