Nearly six months after a Chevron refinery erupted in flames in Richmond, Cailf., there's a tiny bit of charred justice for residents of the San Francisco East Bay area.
In an announcement Wednesday, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) said it would be fining Chevron $963,200 for the fire -- the biggest fine ever levied by the agency, and the biggest fine Cal/OSHA was even legally able to levy.
Cal/OSHA enforces workplace-safety law, and this judgment stemmed directly from 25 violations the agency said Chevron had committed. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The state said 11 of the violations were willful and that Chevron had disregarded known and obvious hazards, a category that carries a fine of $70,000 per instance. Twelve other violations were deemed serious, with fines ranging from $6,000 to $25,000 apiece. The other two violations were minor.
Cal/OSHA found that Chevron officials ignored their own reliability department's urging in 2002 that they replace the pipe that ultimately failed. Company inspectors told managers that the line was vulnerable to corrosion.
The line had lost more than 80 percent of its thickness to corrosion when it finally ruptured, a separate federal investigation has found. ...