Worker Hurt in Acid Spill at Refinery

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 @ 05:03 PM gHale


One worker at the Martinez, CA, Tesoro Refinery was in the hospital Monday suffering from sulfuric acid spill at the plant, fire officials said. Another worker involved in the incident did not suffer an injury.

Sulfuric acid sprayed on the two workers just before 10:45 a.m., said Contra Costa County Fire District Inspector Steve Aubert. Two contractors were performing maintenance with full protective safety gear when the spill occurred, said Tesoro spokeswoman Tina Barbee.

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It’s the second spill in less than a month and comes after Tesoro Corp. barred federal authorities from going inside its refinery to investigate the earlier spill in February.

Just before 1 p.m., the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) issued an “order preserve” on the reactor vessel surrounding the pipes where Monday’s spill occurred, essentially shutting that area for further investigation. Cal-OSHA reports show the spill occurred in the butylene line at the alkylation unit on Solano Way.

One worker got a little bit of the acid on him, Aubert said, and the other worker was “saturated” in it. That worker went to John Muir Medical Center. Aubert did not know his condition.

The scene cleared at 11:05 a.m.

This accident comes on the heels of a Feb. 12 incident where two workers at the plant ended up hospitalized after they suffered chemical burns to the face while taking samples in the alkylation unit, according to the Cal-OSHA. They ended up airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center, where medical personnel treated and released them the same day.

Cal-OSHA shut down the Golden Eagle Refinery where the pipe was for about a month, but Tesoro would not allow investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to return to the site for follow-up visits, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. Tesoro officials said the Feb. 12 incident was minor and did not qualify under the rules for a federal investigation. Tesoro did allow the federal workers onto its site after receiving a subpoena.



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