Motiva Fined in Refinery Fire

DELAWARE CITY, Del. -- Motiva Enterprises LLC, an operating unit of Shell Oil Co., was fined $259,000 for failing to inspect a refinery tank that exploded and killed a worker last summer, federal regulators said yesterday.

Motiva said it strongly disagreed with the fines and would vigorously defend itself. "Motiva and its employees never acted to violate OSHA requirements," the company said in a statement.

The body of boilermaker Jeff Davis, 50, of Fairless Hills, Pa., was never found. Seven people were also injured when the sulfuric acid tank blew up July 17 as welders worked above the tank.

"Motiva failed to internally inspect Tank 393 in a timely manner, despite its knowledge that the tank was long overdue for inspection, had a history of leaks and showed signs of deterioration," said Richard Soltan, OSHA regional administrator.

The workers were employees of Washington Group International of Cleveland, a subcontractor. OSHA fined Washington Group $14,000 for failing to contain sparks while welding and cutting and for failing to train employees working in the cleanup of hazardous waste.
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