Safety officials have proposed penalties of $112,000 following a fire at a midstream cryogenic natural gas processing facility in Gregory, Texas, owned by Southcross Energy Partners GP LLC.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Southcross for seven safety violations related to the incident on January 20, in which a pressure-relief device released flammable gas and liquid into the atmosphere. The fire burned for more than two hours.
After an investigation, OSHA cited the Texas-based natural gas company for one willful and six serious safety violations. Inspectors alleged that the employer failed to train operators, update operating procedures, conduct a management of change analysis when changing software and hardware, conduct periodic inspections and document inspections on emergency shutdown devices.
“Preparation is critical for safe workplaces,” commented Michael J. Rivera, OSHA’s area director in Corpus Christi. “Managing worker safety by finding and fixing hazards is the employer’s responsibility, but Southcross Energy failed to provide an adequate plan. This situation could have been deadly. Thankfully no one was injured.”
Southcross operates four gas processing plants, two fractionation plants, five treating plants and approximately 3,000 miles of pipeline. It has a total of 320 employees, with 12 at the Gregory facility.
The company now has 15 business days to comply, request a meeting with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.