The following is a reprint from the October 2018 issue of Industrial Fire World Magazine. The article has been reproduced in its entirety for your convenience, but you can also read the original by clicking here.
According to a 2002 report by the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 228 fires or explosions were reported in or at petroleum refineries or natural gas plants per year from 1994 to 1998. A more recent April 2016 report uncovered the following statistics:
Effective August 1st (2016), companies with more than 250 employees can expect increased scrutiny and fines under OSHA's new enforcement and penalty policies. Area directors from OSHA can offer companies with fewer than 250 employees a fine reduction of 20%.
Under the new guidelines, fines for incidents increased by 80% to a maximum of $124,709 per citation. If multiple employees are involved - and the violation is deemed egregious by OSHA - the offending company can be cited for each employee at the full $124,709 per citation. The penalty for willful and/or repeat violations is now set at $12,470, and the timeframe for classifying a violation as willful or repeat was expanded by two years, from a 3-year period to 5 years.