Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New safety standards implemented in oil industry

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has developed new safety standards to meet the demands of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

The new standards came as a result of an explosion at a Texas refinery that killed 15 people and injured 170 in 2005, the worst in U.S. industrial accident in 16 years. The safety board found nine trailers were 121 feet away from the unit that exploded, and workers in trailers 480 feet away from the explosion were injured.

It was recommend to the API that they require refineries to limit how close workers' portable trailers can be placed near hazardous operations. New standards for oil refiners, like Exxon Mobile Corp., suggest three "blast zones" where portable buildings can be placed, depending on construction material in a trailer and the size of a close by refinery unit.

Since 1992, 36 refinery accidents involving hazardous chemicals have caused 52 deaths and 250 injuries, according to the OSHA. The industry is considered the most dangerous in the country.

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