Blast Aftermath: Plant Hit with Fines

Friday, August 31, 2012 @ 04:08 PM gHale


Plains Gas Solutions LLC in Eunice, LA, faces $111, 000 in fines following a February explosion and fire that left a worker severely burned.

OSHA Wednesday issued one willful and seven serious violations against the company, which produces liquid natural gas through a cryogenic process.

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OSHA said the company improperly routed the cryogenic liquids as part of a restarting process through equipment not rated to withstand extreme cold temperatures. That resulted in the explosion and fire.

“Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals,” said Dorinda Folse, OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge. “The terrible incident that occurred at this facility could have been prevented had the company adhered to OSHA’s standards.”

The willful violation is for failing to conduct an analysis of pre-startup safety conditions and systematically managing changes to process-related technology, equipment, procedures and facilities. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Serious violations include failing to ensure the accuracy of process safety and provide a process hazard analysis addressing low temperature deviations, ensure that operating procedures are current, complete incident investigation reports and establish a consistent method of documenting changes in the process. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Plains Gas Solutions is a subsidiary of Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline LP, which employs 3,800 workers in Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.



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