An oil refinery in southern Oklahoma is being fined $281,000 for repeatedly violating workplace safety standards and putting the lives of refinery workers at unnecessary risk. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the considerable fines last week against the Wynnewood Refining Co., in connection with the deaths of two Oklahoma workers involved in a fatal blast at the refinery in September 2012. If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident in Oklahoma City, or elsewhere in Oklahoma, consult our knowledgeable lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center for legal help. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses, temporary or permanent disability, and missed time at work, which our attorneys can help you pursue in a timely manner. Our legal team has years of experience protecting the rights of injured workers throughout Oklahoma; contact our law firm today for legal guidance.
Lives of Refinery Workers Put at Risk
Many of the most serious OSHA citations involve repeated violations regarding the engineering and hazardous use of a large boiler that exploded last year at the Wynnewood Refining Co., killing workers Russell Mann, 45, and Billy Smith, 34. According to OSHA, the company had been cited for many of the same safety violations following another boiler explosion in 2008, four years before Smith and Mann were killed. David Bates, director of OSHA’s Oklahoma City-area office said it’s possible the workers’ deaths could have been avoided if the refinery had adhered to OSHA safety standards. “Failure to implement effectively OSHA’s process safety management regulations, which protects employees from potential hazards at high-risk facilities…will not be tolerated,” said Bates. “If OSHA’s standards had been followed, it is possible this tragedy could have been avoided.”
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The fatal explosion in 2012 caused some Oklahoma residents to voice concerns about the refinery’s new owner, CVR Energy Inc., a lax culture of workplace safety, and whether some of the refinery workers were reluctant to complain for fear of losing their jobs or having the refinery shut down. According to a spokeswoman for CVR Energy, the company is reviewing OSHA’s findings and is working to address the agency’s safety concerns. Because of the serious nature of the workplace hazards, OSHA has placed the company in a program that focuses on “recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure to abate violations.” If you have suffered injuries in a workplace accident in Oklahoma, or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, contact our reputable attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center to discuss your possible compensation options.