CSB Applauds Washington State New Refinery Safety Regulation

January 5, 2024

Washington D.C. January 5, 2024 – Today the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) commended the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) for adopting a new regulation to improve process safety management at petroleum refineries in the State of Washington.

Following the CSB’s investigation of the April 2, 2010, catastrophic explosion and fire at the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery in Anacortes, Washington, that resulted in seven fatalities, the CSB issued three recommendations to the Governor and Legislature of the State of Washington to strengthen Washington’s Process Safety Management (PSM) program.

CSB Chairperson Steve Owens said, “The State of Washington’s final rule implements a majority of the measures that the CSB recommended and establishes important new safety requirements for petroleum refineries in the State of Washington. This new rule will provide greater protections for workers at petroleum refineries across the state.”

The updated rule, which takes effect on Dec. 27, 2024, is modeled after California’s petroleum refinery process safety rule, which was adopted in 2019. Like California’s rule, this rule will require employers to:

  • Perform damage mechanism reviews for processes that result in equipment or material degradation.
  • Perform hierarchy of hazard control analyses to identify and prioritize risks and implement inherent safety measures and safeguards to manage hazards; and  
  • Conduct root cause analyses after significant accidents. A root cause analysis must be completed as part of any incident investigation attempting to determine the initiating causes of the incident.             

The CSB’s board members are appointed by the President subject to Senate confirmation. The Board does not issue citations or fines but makes safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.

Please visit our website, www.csb.gov. For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen at [email protected].



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