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OSHA says Sinclair refinery shutdown is on the table

Wyoming’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, says they would consider shutting down the Sinclair refinery if another serious problem happens there.

The refinery has had a series of fires, explosions, and toxic gas releases in the past few years, and OSHA recently gave Sinclair the highest fine it’s ever given a Wyoming company.

OSHA’s John Ysebaert says they’ve already discussed the possibility of closing the refinery if there’s another serious accident.

“There aren’t any prescribed events that would have to happen in order to have a shutdown,” Ysebaert said. “It would come in terms of our judgment. … Just trust me when I say that that issue is out there and is on the table.”

Sinclair has received more than 180 safety violations since the middle of 2011.

Ysebaert says many of the issues happened because top company officials and managers didn’t place enough emphasis on doing things safely.

“We have these other refineries that don’t have these issues, yet at Sinclair we do,” Ysebaert said, adding that, “there is a difference in the culture of safety between that plant and the others.”

Ysebaert says the lack of a culture of safety at Sinclair seems to stem from leadership. He says the company has recently hired two new managers, who, he hopes, will help the plant improve its safety record.

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