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Tanker Truck Explosion at San Antonio Refinery Results in Over $12,000 in Fines

A tanker truck explosion at a fueling station has lead to $12,600 in fines for AGE Refining, Inc. After an investigation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), AGE Refining was cited for three safety violations.

AGE's refinery in San Antonio provides jet fuel and diesel to the U.S. Air Force and other customers. In May earlier this year, an 18-wheeler truck was refueling at AGE's fueling station when it exploded, destroying the truck and causing the driver to suffer a serious burn injury. The explosion started the station on fire and caused a chain reaction of explosions at the adjacent refinery. Two other tankers were damaged and the fueling station was ultimately destroyed. All residents within a half-mile of the refinery explosion had to be evacuated.

According to San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood, it took 100 firefighters over six hours to contain the blaze.

Industrial Safety Violations

OSHA's investigation uncovered that the AGE workplace contained several hazards likely to cause workers' deaths or serious physical harm:

  • Fuel truck loading standards throughout the industry allow for loading a predetermined quantity of fuel with an automatic shutoff control to prevent tankers from being overfilled. AGE's station did not follow that industry standard.
  • Loading racks at fueling stations should be a certain distance from a fuel plant's buildings. AGE's loading rack was closer to the refinery than recommended.
  • Ideally, fueling stations should be free from ignition sources. If sources cannot be eliminated, then they should at least be controlled. AGE's loading rack did not have control of ignition sources at its fueling station.

Each safety violation included a $4,200 fine. AGE has until November 24 to correct those conditions and pay the $12,600 fines.

This is not the first time AGE has had problems. The San Antonio refinery has had three previous fires: in 1995, 2004 and 2008. In 2007, OSHA paid a surprise visit to the refinery and found 18 safety violations, 17 which were deemed "serious."

Source: AGE Refining gets 3 OSHA citations, fines; Fires, OSHA violations plagued AGE refinery

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