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Federal report: Safety, equipment flaws in deadly Tesoro refinery explosion

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ANACORTES, Wash. — Unsafe equipment, weak industry standards  and other safety flaws were in part to blame for the April 2010 explosion that killed seven people at the Tesoro refinery.

That’s the conclusion that the federal Chemical Safety Board (CSB) determined: poor inspection procedures allowed refinery employees to work in unnecessarily dangerous conditions.

tesoro refineryAfter a four-year investigation the Board determined that the deaths happened after cracks and fissures in a damaged heat exchanger caused a metal pipe to rupture as it was filling with flammable material.  The board also concluded that refinery industry standard were too lax and ‘largely voluntary’ and that state regulators were unable to enforce safety regulations.

The explosion was rooted in “a deficient refinery safety culter, weak industry standard for safeguarding equipment, and a regulatory system that too often emphasizes activities rather than outcomes,’ Rafael Moure-Eraso, CSN chairman told the Seattle Times.

Seven people were killed in the April 2, 2010, explosion.

Tesoro and Shell have already settled with families of the victims for about $39 million.

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