CSB Announces April 19 Public Meeting in Richmond, California

March 25, 2013

Washington, DC, March 25, 2013 - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announces that it will hold a public meeting on April 19, 2013, to present the interim report and safety recommendations from the investigation of the August 6, 2012, hydrocarbon release that occurred at the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, CA.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. PDT at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center located at 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA.

The CSB determined that nineteen Chevron employees were engulfed in a vapor cloud formed by the hydrocarbon release. Eighteen employees escaped before the fire started and one employee escaped without injury after the fire ensued. The incident resulted in six minor injuries. Production at the crude unit has been suspended since the accident. More than 15,000 residents in the surrounding area sought treatment at area medical facilities as a result of the release and fire.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “The CSB’s public hearing will provide an opportunity for the public to hear and comment upon the interim findings and formal safety recommendations resulting from the board’s investigation into the 2012 accident – the issues presented at this meeting will be applicable to refineries across the country.”

At the meeting CSB staff will present to the Board the interim results of their investigation into this incident. Key issues involved in the investigation include sulfidation corrosion, effective hazard analysis processes, and requirements for the use of corrosion-resistant materials in refineries. Following the presentation, the Board will hear from invited panel members and members of the public.

At the conclusion of the public comment period, the Board will consider whether to approve the interim report and recommendations. All staff presentations are preliminary and are intended solely to allow the Board to consider in a public forum the issues and factors involved in this case.

The hearing is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required; to register for the event, please send email to [email protected]. Members of the audience will have an opportunity to comment on the draft report, as presented by the investigative staff.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Communications Director Hillary Cohen, (202) 261-3601, cell (202) 446-8094 or Sandy Gilmour at (202) 251-5496.

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