According to a recent survey, the same kinds of conditions that preceded a deadly March 2005 accident at BP Products North America’s Texas City refinery are pervasive in refineries across the nation.
The Labor Institute and the Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education, both funded by the United Steelworkers, conducted the survey. The survey polled union leaders at 51 refineries, representing 49% of the U.S. refining capacity.
The survey, Beyond Texas City: The State of Process Safety in the Unionized U.S. Oil Refining Industry, found that 90% of the sites surveyed reported at least one of the four key hazardous conditions identified at the Texas City accident:
- Use of atmospheric vents
- Failed instrumentation and alarm systems
- Unprotected buildings near process units
- Nonessential personnel in vulnerable areas
According to Thomas H. McQuiston of the Mazzocchi Center, the survey shows that critical safety deficiencies are widespread and that the industry has not taken sufficient corrective actions.