Refineries hope new regulations will reduce workplace accidents

The various refineries in California process approximately two million barrels of oil each day. There are a number of complex chemical processes that take place in the refineries to convert the oil to different products. With such complexities at the facilities, there comes the potential for increased workplace accidents. Recent regulations established that refineries should establish safer systems and designs.

In Aug. 2017, state industry regulators gave workers at refineries more responsibility for equipment at the facilities. Employees are empowered to stop processes should they observe any working conditions that are unsafe. There are also systems in place to give workers the opportunity to anonymously report safety issues.

Many of the regulations were changed following a 2012 accident in Richmond. A task force comprised of workers, community members and various agencies worked together to develop the regulations. While the revisions were underway, another accident occurred in southern California at the Torrance facility.

Another aspect of the regulations involved the number of employees dedicated to conducting safety management reviews. Approximately half the total number of inspectors for all facilities will focus solely on reviewing refinery safety. There are also specifications to increase the number of inspections at each facility.

Workplace accidents can occur on any job, even if comprehensive safety processes and procedures are in place. If someone is injured at work, it would be helpful to contact a California workers' compensation lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney will work diligently with clients to ensure that they receive all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Source:, "California tightens safety regulations for refineries," Jeff Johnson, Aug. 8, 2017

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