Blog Post #674 – Explosion in Refinery Injures Worker

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

An over-pressurized tank at an oil refinery in New Brunswick led to an explosion that sent one worker to hospital with minor injuries.

Shortly before noon on September 26, 2012, a carbonate tank at the Irving Oil refinery in St. John became over-pressurized during hydrogen plant turnaround work. Saint John Police and Saint John Fire Department responded to the scene in the northeast end of the city, a statement from the police force notes.

The worker was taken to hospital and there was no further damage reported after the initial explosion. An all-clear was issued in the refinery resume normal operations less than an hour later, notes a statement from the company. An investigation by WorkSafeNB into the incident continues.

My opinion

Irving Oil is a very large employer on the Canadian east coast. The idea that the plant was back, up and running, within the hour just shows how much clout Irving Oil has. In Ontario, there would have been a work stoppage long enough for the MOL to investigate thoroughly. I do know it was a minor injury BUT there may have been potential for another accident.

The oil industry, in general, marches to their own drum. Accidents happen in many places in the oil industry in many places in Canada. Safety is supposed to be of paramount importance but not at the expense of getting things up and running. I see a large difference in safety for that sector.

Please ensure that safety is the goal for any workplace. The Ontario Ministry of Labour is working diligently to bring the safety standards up all around the province. If you live outside Ontario then check your province’s safety record and see if improvements can be made. I bet they can!

By the way, if you see things that may not be as safe as they could be report your information to the safety people in your province.

In Ontario, the MOL emergency hotline number is (1-877-202-0007).

Thank you.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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