ExxonMobil fined $165K for Baton Rouge refinery fire

U.S. regulators fined ExxonMobil approximately $165,000 for safety lapses resulting in the Nov. 22 fire that injured six workers at the Baton Rouge refinery on Scenic Highway.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the nine citations—first reported by Reuters—in May. The news organization says it recently learned of the citations and was able to view a copy of them.

Daily Report requested more information on the citations, which an OSHA spokesperson said the agency would work to provide. The information, however, was not provided in time for this afternoon’s publication.

Information on OSHA’s website shows that eight of the nine citations are listed as serious, each carrying a fine of $12,675. The ninth, listed as “repeat,” totals $63,373.

ExxonMobil in the statement says it’s contesting the citations and associated penalties.

“We cooperated with OSHA’s investigation and shared extensive information and records to support our position,” the statement says.”Currently, we are contesting the resulting citations and associated penalty.”

ExxonMobil also disputes a part of the Reuters’ report, which references violations from a 2012 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Risk Management Prevention Program inspection.

“The EPA withdrew all but two alleged RMP violations,” ExxonMobil maintains. “The final settlement references EPA allegations regarding annual certification of two operating procedures in 2009 and two incidents where personnel did not follow safety procedures while performing maintenance.”

The November fire at the refinery injured six people—including four critically. Shortly after the fire, ExxonMobil officials told Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality that isobutane vapors escaped from its alkylation unit and sparked a combustion incident.

There was no explosion, but the release ignited and caused a large fire.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board also deployed a three-man team to investigate the fire.

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