OSHA: Valero, contractors face $1.7M high-quality after employee dies


FILE – This July 12, 2017 file picture reveals the Valero Benicia Refinery in Benicia, Calif. The Valero petroleum refinery faces $528,750 in fines after a 35-year-old employee suffocated whereas making an attempt to scrub the within of a regenerator effectively, California officers stated.


A California petroleum refinery faces a high-quality of greater than $500,000 after officers say it violated severe security rules that prompted the demise of a 35-year-old employee.

Valero Refinery in Benicia and three contractors had been fined a mixed $1,753,375 by the Cal/Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in response to a May 19 information launch from the California Department of Industrial Relations.

A consultant from Valero didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark from McClatchy News on May 20.

The fines are tied to an incident on Nov. 12, 2021, when a employee had descended right into a regenerator effectively to judge its situation and clear it forward of welding work, officers stated.

The employee was discovered contained in the effectively hanging by his tools after shedding consciousness, in response to the information launch.

First responders from the Benicia Fire Department and Valero Refinery Fire Department tried to resuscitate him however had been unsuccessful, the discharge acknowledged.

Officials say a welding torch had been left contained in the effectively and was leaking argon, “an odorless gas that displaced oxygen inside the confined space.”

Officials from Cal/OSHA stated Valero and two different contractors didn’t observe confined area tips akin to guaranteeing that there have been secure, acceptable situations for the worker earlier than he entered the effectively.

“Working in confined spaces is extremely dangerous, as is working with argon,” Cal/OSHA Chief Jeff Killip stated within the launch. “The employers involved had a responsibility to keep their workers safe. The first step to preventing a completely avoidable fatality is to identify hazards before a worker enters a confined space.”

The Valero refinery was fined $528,750; Total Safety – $988,000; JT. Thorpe & Son, Inc. – $135,500; and T.R.S.C., Inc. – $101,125.

Cassandre Coyer is a McClatchy National Real-Time Reporter masking the southeast whereas based mostly in Washington D.C. She’s an alumna of Emerson College in Boston and joined McClatchy in 2022. Previously, she’s written for The Christian Science Monitor, RVA Mag, The Untitled Magazine, and extra.

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