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July 18, 2008 at 7:42 pm #3526
Houston refinery crane collapse kills 4
By Erwin Seba 1 hour, 10 minutes ago
HOUSTON (Reuters) – Four people were killed and six were injured when a massive crane collapsed at LyondellBasell’s Houston refinery on Friday afternoon, a refinery executive said.
“It’s a very sad day for us at the refinery,” said Jim Roecker, vice president of refining operations, during a news conference outside the refinery’s front gate.
All workers were accounted, Roecker said.
Witnesses near the refinery said several helicopter ambulances were seen taking off from the plant in the first hour after the crane collapsed at about 1:30 p.m. local time (1830 GMT).
The fatalities in Houston follow two recent deadly collapses in New York. In May, two people were killed on Manhattan’s Upper East Side after a large crane fell and damaged an apartment building. In March, seven were killed after a crane crushed a residential building.
The crane collapse in Houston was the deadliest U.S. crude oil refinery accident since a massive 2005 explosion at BP Plc’s giant refinery in Texas City, Texas, killed 15 workers and injured 180 other people. Texas City is located 50 miles south of Houston.
Television footage of the collapsed crane at the Houston refinery showed it appeared to break off at the base, crushing trucks and cracking asphalt. Roecker declined to disclose the names of those killed and the companies for which they worked, pending notification of the next of kin.
The giant crane, capable of lifting thousands of tons, collapsed while it was being assembled, witnesses said. He said the crane was owned by Deep South Crane & Rigging, which is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Deep South had no immediate comment on the accident.
Deep South is providing crane equipment to a number of large U.S. refinery projects, including expansions at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas; the Marathon refinery at Garyville, Louisiana and maintenance projects at Citgo’s Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery and the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Illinois.
Those killed and injured worked for outside contractors preparing an overhaul of crude distillation and coking units at LyondellBasell’s 270,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery located along the Houston Ship Channel.
The Houston refinery had been scheduled to begin a seven-week overhaul of a crude distillation unit and a coking unit at the refinery in early July. Other ancillary units at the plant were scheduled to be shut during the overhaul.
The refinery has two crude distillation units and two coking units. A crude distillation unit begins the refining process by turning crude oil into feedstock for further processing into fuels by specialized units at a refinery.
A coking unit strains the last motor fuel feedstocks from gunky residual crude oil and turns the remainder into petroleum coke.
LyondellBasell is a Netherlands-based chemical and refining company with annual revenues of $45 billion and 16,000 employees worldwide. (Additional reporting by Anna Driver and Eileen O’Grady; Editing by David Gregorio)
July 19, 2008 at 12:24 pm #6709
Think this highlights real safety issue for Crane operation, Refineries & Coker work here in Texas.
One articles had stated that about 60-100 people die each year from crane related deaths – clearly an area for some upgrades on our refinery requirements /procedure for these guys instead of relying on this industry that accepts these kind of death tolls!
Here are some other stats on accidents around Texas lifted from other news articles:
In New York City, two crane accidents since March have killed nine people a greater number than the total deaths from cranes over the previous decade.
An Associated Press analysis in June found that cities and states have wildly varying rules governing construction cranes, and some have no regulations at all, choosing instead to rely on federal guidelines dating back nearly 40 years that some experts say haven’t kept up with technological advances.
Texas led the nation with 26 crane-related fatalities in 2005 and 2006, according to federal statistics. Cranes in Texas operate without any state or local oversight, leaving that job to federal regulators.
The crane at the refinery had been delivered in pieces and assembled on site within the last month. It was brought in to remove the roof of the coker unit so large drums could be removed from inside, Roecker said. Cokers convert crude oil to petroleum products.
East Texas Crane Academy president Joe Bob Williams, whose clients include Lyondell, said it’s unusual for such cranes to fail because of the number of people involved in their maintenance.”It’s really odd for these cranes to have any issues because there are so many eyes looking in,” Williams said.
Cameras are mounted around the plant and Roecker said the company hopes that video from those cameras will help it figure out what happened.
January 19, 2009 at 2:06 pm #6334
< Here is update on LyondellBasell Refinery Crane collapse – after OSHA investigation on July accident that killed 4 workers – the Fed’s have charged Deep South Crane & Rigging with serious safety violations – CER>
Crane operator was inadequately trained
04:11 PM CST on Saturday, January 17, 2009
HOUSTON — Federal officials have charged a Baton Rouge company with serious safety violations in connection with a crane collapse that killed four workers at a Houston oil refinery last year.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued three citations, including six serious, one repeat, and one other-than-serious violation against Deep South Crane and Rigging following an OSHA investigation into the July 18 collapse at a LyondellBasell refinery. The 30-story-tall craneone of the worlds largest mobile cranestoppled over, killing two employees and two crane operators. Seven other people were injured.
Not only was the crane operator inadequately trained but the project superintendent did not ensure the crane did not reach hazardous conditions, Mark Briggs, OSHAs area director for its Houston South Area Office, said in a statement. If OSHAs regulations and industry standards had been followed, it is possible this tragedy could have been prevented.
Deep South officials said in a statement they have cooperated fully with the OSHA investigation.
This was a very tragic event, and despite our initial concerns about OSHAs findings, we are committed to doing all that we can to learn from the event and ensure it never happens again, spokeswoman Margaret Landry said.
The OSHA citations include six serious violationsissued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. Those violations include failing to ensure that load rating charts were secured to the cab; the charts included the limitations and warnings for stability of the crane; the controls were labeled in the cab of the crane; and employees were protected from falling on walking-working surfaces.
OSHA also charged Deep South with failing to provide adequate training and ensure that the crane operator was qualified to operate the crane.
The violations carry $71,500 in penalties. The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHAs area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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