|OSHA Issues Safety and Health Information Bulletin
on Process Used In Oil Refinery Operations
WASHINGTON, DC -- A new Safety and Health Information Bulletin
issued today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA), in association with the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), aims to prevent chemical accidents by alerting workers
about the hazards associated with Delayed Coker Unit (DCU)
operations -- a process used in refining crude oil.
"It is important that workers, employers, and emergency
responders understand the fundamental hazards and risks associated
with Delayed Coker Units," said OSHA Administrator John
Henshaw. "This bulletin provides practical advice on
how to identify common hazards and how to minimize risk when
working with this equipment."
"I am proud that EPA's partnership with OSHA is producing
the kind of high-quality communication material that will
help prevent chemical accidents and ensure protection of workers
and citizens in nearby communities," added EPA Acting
Administrator Marianne Lamont Horinko.
In recent years, DCU operations have resulted in a number
of serious accidents despite efforts among many refiners to
share best practices on safety and reliability. Unlike other
types of petroleum refinery operations, the DCU involves both
batch and continuous operations. The batch stage of the operation,
which involves drum switching and coke cutting, presents unique
hazards and is responsible for most of the serious accidents
attributed to DCUs.
The new information was developed jointly by OSHA and EPA
to increase awareness of possible hazards due to the increasing
importance of DCUs in meeting energy demands and the frequency
and severity of serious accidents involving DCUs.
The bulletin targets the most significant hazards involving
the coke drums -- large cylindrical metal vessels that can
measure 120 feet tall and 29 feet in diameter. It also includes
lessons learned and examples of actions that can be taken
to help minimize risks associated with the situations and
conditions that are most likely to cause accidents.
The bulletin also includes information on controlling hazards,
including evaluating hazardous conditions, modifying operations
to control hazards, actively maintaining an effective emergency
response program, and familiarizing workers about risks and
emergency procedures to help reduce serious incidents associated
with DCU operations.