Processing Magazine

Tesoro Fined $2.39 Million for Washington State Refinery Blast

October 5, 2010
A deadly explosion in April at a Tesoro Corp. oil refinery in Washington state could have been prevented if the company had tested its equipment properly and followed other safety regulations, regulators said, reports the Associated Press. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries issued a record $2.39 million fine against Tesoro, following a six-month investigation into state workplace safety and health regulations. It cited the company for 39 willful and five serious violations of state workplace safety and health regulations. Tesoro failed to check for cracks that had developed in the nearly 40-year-old heat exchanger that ruptured April 2, killing seven workers at the Anacortes refinery about 70 miles north of Seattle, the agency said. The cracks likely developed over the years, it said. Tesoro has 15 days to appeal. State officials said that one of the heat exchangers split violently, releasing hydrocarbon vapor that ignited almost immediately. Federal investigators have said all seven victims were within 50 feet of the unit and had no chance of escaping.