Corrosion Hazard Causes Chevron Refinery Fire

Corrosion Hazard causes recurring fire problems at Chevron plant.Officials allege a corrosion hazard was the cause of a fire ignited at Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, California in August of 2012.  Concerned Chevron workers reported the corrosion hazard issue to California’s Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the workers were fearful the issue would get worse.

A Repeat Corrosion Hazard Scenario

A small blaze erupted at the same Chevron refinery in October 2011. Officials believe this fire was due to the same corrosion hazard connected to the August 2012 fire. When the October 2011 fire was investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers informed investigators about their concerns regarding the corrosion issue. The fire took place during a maintenance shutdown and was quickly put out. Also, OSHA investigator Carla Fritz stated Chevron was not given a violation for the 2011 fire, because the corrosion hazard had been identified and corrected.

According to the company’s official website, Chevron is one of the world’s leading integrated energy organizations conducting business worldwide. Chevron’s success is driven by its employees and a commitment to get results the right way-by acting responsibly. Chevron is active in more than 180 countries across the world. As one of the world’s six major oil companies, Chevron is ranked as the 16th largest public company in the world by Forbes Global 200.

A Corrosion Hazard Can Lurk Anywhere

Corrosion exists in almost any work place. Corrosives are materials, typically acids or strong bases,  that can chemically attack and even destroy exposed body tissues. Corrosive agents are so strong, in fact, many times they can destroy metal.  These agents are so strong that they can begin to cause damage on contact with the skin, eyes, respiratory track, or other sensitive systems. Corrosive materials should be actively marked as such and there should be proper MSDS sheets available for quick reference of any such agent.  Routine safety audits and procedure should identify and remediate these materials.

Richmond, California is part of the San Francisco Bay Area located in Contra Costa County. Because of Chevron’s presence, Richmond is considered a “company town”. OSHA provides guidance regarding a corrosion hazard in their discussion of Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances.