Irving Oil has been fined $200,000 after pleading guilty to violating New Brunswick’s Occupational Health and Safety Act in connection with a 2018 explosion at the company’s refinery in Saint John, N.B.
The charges were laid against Irving Oil Ltd., more than a year after the explosion, which occurred on Oct. 8, 2018, sent flames and black smoke into the sky.
An agreed-upon statement of facts indicates there were approximately 1,500 workers at the site on the day of the explosion.
The court document filed with Saint John’s provincial court, says that 80 workers from 17 different employers reported injuries as a result of the explosion.
Many were the result of falling or running away from the fire while others were the result of noise, psychological stress and smoke inhalation.
The fire was found to be the result of a corroded pipe in an area of the refinery known as the Hydrogen Desulfurization Unit or HDS.
The pipe was originally installed in 1974 but during an upgrade in 2004/2005 the HFS created conditions that “allowed localized corrosion to occur within the pipe,” the court document reads.
“Although an inspection of the system was in place to detect corrosion, the localized nature of corrosion allowed the area to go undetected.”
On Oct. 8, 2018, at approximately 10:16 a.m. the pipe ruptured “without warning” and discharged a flammable mixture that ignited.
Saint John residents told Global News at the time of the incident that a towering column of smoke could be seen from across the city.
Since the explosion, Irving Oil examined all similar pipes for localized corrosion and found no similar conditions.
The company has increased corrosion monitoring in the replacement pipe and similar pipes throughout the refinery.
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