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ExxonMobil settles with Cal/OSHA over 2015 Torrance incident

04 February 2019

ExxonMobil has agreed to pay $566,600 in a settlement with California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health for eight safety and workplace violations levied in the wake of the February 2015 fire and explosion that tore through the Torrance refinery in south-west Los Angeles. Cal/OSHA has been negotiating with the group for four years over the violation charges and fines.

Representative image - Shutterstock
Representative image - Shutterstock

As part of the settlement announced last week, according to the Daily Breeze, all willful violations among the original 24 citations initially announced were either reduced to the next level, serious, or withdrawn, although the total fine remained unchanged.

The explosion narrowly missed tanks containing a modified form of hydrofluoric acid, which could have released a highly toxic cloud over the locality. The US Chemical Safety Board said the explosion almost led to a catastrophic release of the acid that could have killed or injured thousands.

ExxonMobil announced the sale of the refinery to New Jersey-based PBF Energy later in 2015, which spent over $800 million on refinery upgrades and employee training to rectify some of the problem areas identified by federal and state bodies.

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