CSB comments on sulfuric acid release at Tesoro Martinez refinery

Monday, March 10, there was a second serious sulfuric acid release at the Tesoro Martinez refinery, resulting in exposures to two maintenance workers. The first incident occurred less than a month ago, on February 12, and also involved the release of sulfuric acid which caused serious injuries to two workers. The CSB will be sending an investigator to examine the Tesoro Martinez refinery incident – he is scheduled to arrive in Martinez later this evening.

CSB investigators were present at the refinery last week and have been working with plant management to move forward with their investigative activities into the Feb 12 accident. Although the CSB obtained some cooperation from Tesoro, Tesoro has yet to provide some of the key documents sought including a recent survey of safety culture.

Tesoro Martinez refinery reports found lacking

In addition, evidence at the site has not been preserved. One eye-opening document that the team did obtain is a Tesoro engineering calculation estimating that 84,000 pounds of sulfuric acid were released in the Feb. 12 incident – hardly the minor release that Tesoro has been describing to the public.

In a February 26th letter to the Tesoro Corporation’s President & CEO the CSB’s board members unanimously expressed their disappointment in Tesoro’s recent actions blocking the agency from performing its congressionally mandated duties in investigating the February 12, 2014 incident.

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