Phillips Petroleum Co. has agreed to pay a federal fine of nearly $2.2 million for safety and health violations discovered after a March 2000 explosion that killed one and injured 74 at its K-Resin styrene butadiene plant in Pasadena, Texas.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration originally had proposed $2.5 million in fines for the incident, which occurred when a chemical reaction caused a 12,000-gallon butadiene tank to explode at the site. The plant now is operated by the Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. joint venture.
OSHA earlier had said that Phillips' failure to train workers properly was a key factor in the explosion. Thirty of the 50 violations OSHA identified were for failure to train plant operators.
``This settlement cannot replace the life that was lost nor make up for the pain suffered by those injured,'' Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said in a Jan. 3 news release. ``But it does mean that [the plant's] employees will be working in safer environments.''
The settlement also requires Chevron Phillips to hire consultants to review the plant's training program and standard operating procedures.
Phillips and Chevron Phillips said they were pleased to reach a settlement. Chevron Phillips spokeswoman Traci Copeland added that the two labor unions representing the plant's employees have supported the firm's response.
The K-Resin plant, which produces styrenic block copolymer for a variety of medical and consumer products, reopened in November, but is operating at only one-third of its capacity.
The March 2000 explosion was the third major accident at the Pasadena site since 1989.