The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited ALON USA LP with alleged serious, repeat and other-than-serious violations following an inspection at the company's crude oil refinery in Big Spring, Texas. Proposed penalties total $237,500.

OSHA's Lubbock Area Office began its investigation April 2 at the company's facility on 200 Refinery Road. The inspection was initiated as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Petroleum Refineries, which has mandated inspections for refineries across the nation.

"Failure to effectively implement OSHA's process safety management regulations to protect workers from potential hazards at high risk facilities, such as petrochemical refineries, will not be tolerated," said Dean McDaniel, the agency's regional administrator in Dallas. "This planned inspection has identified hazards for corrective action to help prevent accidents or injuries."

A serious citation, which includes 27 violations, has been issued for hazards associated with process safety management, confined space, control of hazardous energy, portable fire extinguishers, emergency response and evacuation, electrical deficiencies, chemical storage and walking/working surfaces. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

A repeat citation, which includes three violations, has been issued for hazards associated with process safety management. OSHA issues a repeat violation when an employer previously was cited for the same or similar hazard within the past three years.

An other-than-serious citation, which included four violations, has been issued for hazards associated with danger signs and compressed gas cylinders. An other-than-serious violation is issued when the most serious injury or illness likely to result from a hazardous condition cannot reasonably be predicted to cause death or serious physical harm.

ALON USA employs about 166 workers in Big Spring. The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Lubbock, Texas, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.