OSHA proposes big fine after Houston blast
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed fines totaling nearly $6.4 million for alleged safety violations relating to a fire and explosions at Phillips 66 Co.'s Houston Chemical Complex at Pasadena, Tex.
The Oct. 23, 1989, accident killed 23 workers, injured more than 130 others, and devastated the complex's high density polyethylene unit (OGJ, Oct. 30, 1989, p. 20). OSHA said property damage was about $750 million.
OSHA issued citations for alleged willful and serious violations of federal safety law and regulations against Phillips and Fish Engineering & Construction Inc., a service contractor long associated with Phillips.
The agency charged that Phillips committed 566 willful violations - one for each employee at the plant - carrying proposed penalties of $10,000 each and nine serious violations totaling $6,200, for a combined total of $5,666,200.
Phillips Petroleum Co. Pres. Glen A. Cox said, based on preliminary information, Phillips 66 will contest a number of OSHA's alleged violations.
The proposed penalties against Phillips are the second largest OSHA has proposed against a company for a single inspection. Last November it issued penalties totaling $7.3 million against USX Corp. for alleged violations at two steel plants.
OSHA alleged that Fish Engineering committed 181 willful violations at $4,000 each, 12 serious ones at $5,500, and one other than serious at $100 for a total of $729,600.
Accident ruled avoidable
Labor Sec. Elizabeth Dole said the …