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OSHA investigation results in citations for Montana refinery

The oil industry provides a lot of jobs in Montana. The industry is booming, which means steady paychecks for a lot of Montana workers, and steady profits for employers. Unfortunately, some employers attach more importance to profits than to the safety of their workers. Recently, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited a Montana refinery for 3 violations: one willful, one serious and one not serious.

The citations were issued last week following an OSHA investigation in February of this year. The investigation was triggered by an arc explosion at an asphalt mill run by the company. OSHA inspectors discovered that the company had modified high voltage electrical equipment by blocking a switch, in order to bypass a circuit protector and keep the plant running. The company was cited for a willful OSHA violation for exposing workers to the explosion hazard presented by the modification.

OSHA issued a serious violation citation for failing to post safety signs and tags to warn workers of the electrical hazard. An other-than-serious citation was issued for failing to properly post information as to voltage, current and other ratings.

OSHA works to protect the safety of workers by enforcing safety rules in the workplace. When worker is injured on the job, Montana's workers' compensation system provides benefits to compensate the worker for lost wages, medical expenses and temporary and permanent disability. But employers and their insurers do not always pay all the benefits a worker is entitled to. When that occurs, an experienced Montana workers' compensation attorney can take the employer to court and compel payment of the benefits. Montana workers who are injured at work have rights. A workers' compensation attorney can ensure that those rights are protected.

Source: Great Falls Tribune, "OSHA cites Montana Refining Co. for violations, proposes $77,000 fine," Aug. 9, 2013

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