OSHA has cited Plains Gas Solutions LLC in Eunice, La. for one willful and seven serious violations involving OSHA's process safety management standards following an explosion and fire that severely burned a worker.
OSHA began its investigation Feb. 29 at the company's facility on Fournat Road in Eunice, which specializes in the production of liquid natural gas through a cryogenic process. The incident occurred while employees were restarting the process. Cryogenic liquids were improperly routed through equipment not rated to withstand extreme cold temperatures, resulting in the explosion and fire.
"Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge. "The terrible incident that occurred at this facility could have been prevented had the company adhered to OSHA's standards."
Serious violations include failing to ensure the accuracy of process safety and provide a process hazard analysis addressing low temperature deviations, ensure that operating procedures are kept current, complete incident investigation reports and establish a consistent method of documenting changes in the process.
The willful violation is for failing to conduct an analysis of pre-startup safety conditions and systematically managing changes to process-related technology, equipment, procedures and facilities.
Plains Gas Solutions is a subsidiary of Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline LP, which employs about 3,800 workers in Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
Proposed penalties total $111,000. The citations can be viewed at www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PlainsGasSolutions.pdf*.