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OK Refinery Faces $281,000 in Fines for Workplace Safety Violations

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.”

Contact Our Skilled Attorneys for Legal Help

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.

2 comments

  1. Donna R Bannister

    Today October 19th 2013, the Wynnewood Refinery (CVR). The flares were going so high that you could see them 12-14 miles a way at Kimberlin road. The emissions that were being released smelled like benzene. My head has hurt for months and my breathing is shallow and difficult. They try to hide all of this and release at night. I thought you should know what is really going on at this Refinery at Wynnewood, Oklahoma. We have lot’s of people that have headaches, asthma, skin disorders, heart trouble, cancer, lupus, and many other health problem. It’s time someone spoke out and I guess that someone is me. I have lived in Wynnewood all my life. Thank You
    Donna R. Bannister
    WynnewoodOklahoma

  2. Donna R Bannister

    I also live in Wynnewood, Oklahoma and am a Doctor of Pharmacy. The emissions from the refinery here are almost unbearable at times. We have called the EPA and DEQ many times. No results can be detected. The odors are hydrogen sulfide(rotten egg gas), benzene, and many other varieties. I am backing up Donna R. Bannister complaints, because I too am tired of this continuing condition. It is time to make the refinery accountable for their negligence (as cited by OSHAA). Too many people who live here have a great number of health problems. Thanks for your time. Gloria Crabtree Dph
    Wynnewood, Okla.

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