A fire and explosions at a refinery in Pennsylvania have resulted in an energy company being cited by OSHA for serious violations related to process safety management (PSM). Philadelphia Energy Solutions faces $132,600 in penalties stemming from the June 2019 incident at its Girard Point Refinery Complex in Philadelphia.

PSM encompasses requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemicals were hydrofluoric acid and flammable hydrocarbons. OSHA’s inspection found deficiencies in the refinery’s PSM program, including failing to establish or implement written procedures, insufficient hazard analysis and inadequate inspection of process equipment for highly hazardous chemicals used in the process.

“When employers fail to evaluate and address potential hazardous conditions associated with chemical processes, catastrophic events such as this can occur,” said OSHA Philadelphia Area Director Theresa Downs. “OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard requires that employers conduct regular inspections to ensure process equipment meets industry standards.”

OSHA’s Process Safety Management webpage provides resources on recognizing, evaluating and controlling process hazards.