OSHA deputy assistant secretary Jordan Barab on 5/19 addressed the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association’s National Safety Conference in San Antonio, Texas. “The ringing in your ears an hour or two ago wasn't just the alarm clock by your bed. It was a wake-up call for everyone in your business,” he told attendees.

”The headlines of refinery worker injuries and deaths on the job and of OSHA's stepped-up inspections are sounding an alarm about an industry-wide problem -- a problem that we are obliged to address.

”Bluntly speaking: Your workers are dying on the job and it has to stop.

“Three concepts that I believe can help you, as safety professionals, to save more workers' lives…

”First: Effective process safety programs and strong workplace health and safety culture are critical for success in preventing catastrophic events

”Second: This industry needs to learn from its mistakes. We know the major causes and we know the remedies. Systemic reform is needed now.

”Third -- and I'm not telling you anything you don't already know: Numbers don't tell the whole story. Focusing on low DART rates alone won't protect you from disaster. New metrics are needed.

“Stop boasting about your safety records when you're literally putting out fires. You're only undermining your credibility.

“Boasting about the great safety record of refinery industry while widows and children are planning funerals doesn't make you sound like a serious organization.”