CSB Investigating Fire at ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, LA

Washington, DC – A three-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that injured six workers – including four critically – on Tuesday, November 22 at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to initial inquiries, flammable vapors were released during unplanned maintenance around a pump. Although there was no explosion, the release ignited and caused a large fire.

The fire broke out at an 18,750-bpd alyklation unit, which produces high-octane gasoline components, as five people prepared to restart it following repair work, sources familiar with the plant’s operations said.

ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge Refinery is one of the country’s 150 refineries covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Process Safety Management regulations. Despite some positive initial steps toward improvement in process safety management at the federal level,

CSB investigations have emphasized the need for a more comprehensive process safety management system in the U.S. to protect worker safety, public health, and the environment. In fact, the modernization of process safety management regulations is one of the CSB’s Drivers of Critical Chemical Safety Change, a list of key chemical safety advocacy initiatives.