A few weeks ago, the Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company got a $707,000 fine for safety violations. Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, found that Sinclair had willfully violated various safety regulations and failed to fix hazards that could have resulted in death or serious physical harm.
An explosion at the Sinclair Refinery near Rawlins on Friday night resulted in a fire.
The explosion occurred around 10 p.m. on Friday. No one was injured, and by 3 a.m. the fire was under control. The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is investigating the incident. The cause is still unknown.
Two people were taken to the hospital after a fire started at the Sinclair Refinery near Rawlins yesterday.
John Ysebaert with Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, says the fire started when workers who were erecting scaffolding tripped a valve. That released so-called “super-heated diesel,” which ignites when it hits the atmosphere.
Wyoming consistently has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the country. Many of these are in the energy industry, though not all. Last year, the state legislature decided to tackle the problem by hiring more safety consultants for Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA. Most agree that the change has been positive, but some say more still needs to be done, in order to reduce workplace injuries and deaths. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.
Sinclair Oil is being fined $260,000 for safety violations at its refinery near Rawlins. These are on top of violations the company received last year, when repeated explosions and fires injured several plant workers.
The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, inspected the refinery after receiving a complaint about a diesel leak. OSHA’s John Ysebaert says they found that the company wasn’t adequately training its workers, and wasn’t properly labeling chemicals, among other violations.
New rules from Wyoming’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, require workers to wear flame-resistant clothing near wellbore holes, and require emergency shut-down devices on diesel engines used on drill rigs.
OSHA’s John Ysebaert says flame-resistant clothing has made a big difference for worker’s safety during two recent incidents. One was a fire at the Sinclair Oil refinery.
“There were injuries, but it absolutely saved lives and … reduced those injuries,”Ysebaert said.
The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Sinclair Oil for 11 serious violations at its refinery near Rawlins. There have been four fires at the Sinclair refinery since May, and seven workers have been injured, some critically. OSHA has completed its investigation for one of the incidents and will likely fine the company more than $60,000 for violations.
Wyoming has hired seven new Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety consultants to improve workplace safety in the state.
Workplace safety has been a real problem in Wyoming. The state ranked among the top two in the nation in workplace fatalities in eight of the last nine years.
John Ysebaert of Workforce Services will oversee the program. He says that, instead of doling out fines for workplace safety violations, the OSHA consultants willhelp small businesses to develop and comply with safety requirements on a voluntary basis.
The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would provide grant money to small businesses to have OSHA determine whether they have a safe workplace.
Wyoming has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous states in the country for workers, and Republican Eli Bebout of Riverton sees this as a way to use a positive approach to improve workplace safety.
A measure intended to increase workplace safety is making its way through the Wyoming House of Representatives. The bill is intended to encourage companies to contact OSHA to determine if they're doing what they can to ensure workplace safety. Grants will be provided to help companies implement safety programs and buy necessary equipment. Cheyenne Democrat Mary Throne had wanted stiffer penalties to ensure compliance, but she is hopeful that this approach will work. “I certainly think we need to provide more resources to employers and to OSHA to help those folks who want to engage in th
For the last decade, Wyoming has ranked either first or second for workplace deaths and two groups are asking legislators to change things. The AFL-CIO and the Spence Association for Employee Rights point to a recent report that said that Wyoming has had 622 work related deaths since 1992. Kim Floyd of the AFL-CIO says that is too many and it’s time for state leaders to change their approach and finally do something to improve the workplace culture.