Fatal BP blast: Failure to communicate?
That unit exploded March 23, killing 15 people and injuring more than 100.
Charles Ramirez joined contractor J.E. Merritt in November. He had been a safety representative for the contractor while the company oversaw and staffed the turnaround for BPâ€™s gasoline-producing unit ultracracker, which is located adjacent to the isomerization unit at the center of the fatal explosion.
Ramirez had attended a luncheon hosted by BP to recognize the crewâ€™s safety record while handling the turnaround. He was en route for another meeting when the blast occurred.
The blast killed Ramirezâ€™s supervisor and 14 others, most whose bodies were found in the rubble of the company's trailers, which were used for offices.
Ramirez faulted BPâ€™s lack of communication about the startup of the octane-boosting unit as a reason many were killed and more injured.
â€œAnybody in the petrochemical business will tell you a startup or shutdown is the most dangerous time,â€ he told the Daily News.
Ramirez offered an insider's look at the safety culture inside the refinery. He was critical of refinery employees who â€œdid basically what they wanted to,â€ and noted that safety requirements by his company were far more strict than those of their BP counterparts.
â€œ(It) was just small things, but you learn in safety that if you control all the smaller issues, the larger ones wonâ€™t come forth,â€ he said. â€œAfter so many small instances, you are fixing to have a big one,â€ he told the Daily News.