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California refinery combats chemical board in employer defense

Running a refinery in California can be stressful and contain a long list of safety regulations necessary to operate legally. An employer may choose to maintain an employer defense in the event of an unavoidable work accident. Seeking education on safety regulations and operations could strengthen an employer defense should the government choose to investigate a workplace incident.

Recently, two refinery workers suffered burns from a burst pipe that sprayed toxic acid coming in contact with the employees. The workers were transported to a local medical facility where they were treated for first and second degree burns. The acid's damage was treatable and both workers were discharged from the hospital the same day of the accident.

Reports claim that the day following the accident, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board was able to enter the refinery and attempt to begin an investigation into what may have happened surrounding the accident. The refinery claims that the incident was minor and does not require intense investigation by the regulatory entity. The company claims that the accident was not severe enough to warrant an investigation according to federal standards.

The California refinery has disallowed the U.S. Chemical Safety Board additional access to their premises to continue its analysis of the incident. The board continues to make requests to be allowed access to the campus once again to look into the pipe burst and acid leak. Records show that the Chemical Safety Board has not been authoritatively challenged since it began in 1998 by a refinery located on American land. An employer defense can help to prevent a business from intrusive investigations and potentially protect a company from excessive fines and citations.

Source:, Federal safety officials investigating acid accident barred from Tesoro refinery in Martinez, No author, Feb. 21, 2014

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