Chevron refinery fire Chemical Refineries Petroleum

CSB to California: Adopt new approach to regulating refineries

Richmond, CA – California needs to change the way it regulates refineries and adopt a system aimed at reducing risk to the lowest possible level, concludes a new report from the Chemical Safety Board.

The draft report, issued Dec. 16, is the second part of CSB’s investigation into the August 2012 fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA. The first report traced the incident to the company’s failure to upgrade corroded equipment and apply inherently safer design principles.

Calling the current system “patchwork” and “reactive,” CSB urged California to shift to a system that requires refineries to submit a “safety case” report explaining how they plan to control hazards and reduce risks to as low as reasonably practicable. This type of system is being used in Norway, the United Kingdom and other regions.

The draft report is scheduled to be considered for formal adoption during a public meeting on Jan. 15. Comments on the report are due Jan. 3.