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News Room

This page contains previous items from our Latest News feature.

Investigations Underway for Cause of Deadly Blast at Gas Well Site in Oklahoma

Publish Date: 2018-01-26
Category: Industry News

A January 22nd explosion at a gas drilling operation near Quinton, Oklahoma consumed the rig site, and resulted in five worker fatalities. Seventeen other onsite employees were able to get out safely. The incident occurred at a new gas well site operated by a privately-held oil and gas exploration company.

Although the cause of the explosion is unclear, initial assessments indicate that a possible uncontrolled release of gas caught fire and that efforts to shut down the well were unsuccessful. Early findings suggest that a blowout preventer designed to automatically shut down the well failed.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission are investigating the accident.

Primatech has published a white paper that provides a primer on understanding cyber security for the manufacturing and process industries.

Publish Date: 2017-12-11
Category: Primatech News

This white paper explains and defines industrial cyber security and the vocabulary used, identifies threats and vulnerabilities for computer systems, describes techniques and methods used by adversaries in attacking them, and identifies cyber security protective measures that can be implemented.

You may view the white paper by clicking on its title below:

Making Sense of Industrial Cyber Security (PDF format)

Primatech Exhibiting at the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium

Publish Date: 2017-09-15
Category: Primatech News

Primatech will be exhibiting at the 20th anniversary event of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium, October 24-26, 2017 in College Station, Texas. Be sure to visit the Primatech booth (10 & 11) at the Hilton Conference Center’s Bluebonnet Ballroom exhibit hall.

Primatech representatives Steven Baybutt and Shawn Metzler will be available to discuss how Primatech's consulting, training, and software and Primacert’s certifications can assist in meeting your organization's process safety objectives. The Primatech booth will also feature demos of the company’s software products, highlighted by hands-on demonstrations of PHAWorks® RA Edition.

Be sure to drop off your business card at Primatech's booth for a chance to win a Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth Wireless Speaker!


Lessons Learned from OSHA's Petroleum Refinery PSM NEP

Publish Date: 2017-09-12
Category: Industry News

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had issued the document, Process Safety Management for Petroleum Refineries: Lessons Learned from the Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program, OSHA 3918-08 2017. The document highlights areas of the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard where OSHA issued the most citations during the Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program (NEP). OSHA discovered many common instances of non-compliance and recommends that refineries review these areas of non-compliance to ensure that they do not exist in their own facilities. The areas include:

  • Process Safety Information (PSI)
  • Process Hazards Analysis (PHA)
  • Operating Procedures
  • Mechanical Integrity (MI)
  • Management of Change (MOC)

The document is available at:


Primatech has published a white paper that describes a variety of PHA methods, provides procedures for using them, and presents a comparison of the methods.

Publish Date: 2017-07-28
Category: Primatech News

Primatech introduces its latest white paper available now from this website. The white paper describes various PHA methods and lists the different procedures involved for conducting those methods. A comparison of the PHA methods is also presented.

You may view the white paper by clicking on its title:

Comparison of Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) Methods

New Process Safety Regulation Approved in California

Publish Date: 2017-05-26
Category: Industry News

On May 18, 2017, a new refinery safety rule for oil refineries was approved by the State of California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. Section 5189.1 has been added to Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, which is enforced by Cal/OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) Unit.

Some elements contained in the regulation require refinery employers to:

  • Conduct Damage Mechanism Reviews for processes that result in equipment or material degradation
  • Conduct a Hierarchy of Hazard Controls Analysis to encourage refinery management to implement the most effective safety measures when correcting hazards.
  • Implement a Human Factors Program to analyze human factors such as staffing levels, training and competency, fatigue and other effects of shift work, and the human-machine interface.
  • Develop, implement and maintain written procedures for the Management of Organizational Change to ensure that plant safety remains consistent during personnel changes.
  • Utilize Root Cause Analysis when investigating any incident that could have resulted in a major incident.
  • Perform and document a Process Hazard Analysis of the effectiveness of safeguards that apply to particular processes.
  • Implement and maintain a Process Safety Culture Assessment program to understand the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety.

The new rule is part of a package of complementary regulations intended to make California refineries safer. The companion regulation strengthens the California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) program that helps to prevent the accidental release of hazardous substances harmful to public health and the environment. A revised CalARP regulation will also be submitted for approval in the weeks ahead.


Rulemaking Documents for Process Safety Management for Petroleum Refineries – State of California DIR’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board (OSHSB)

CSB Issues Final Report on 2015 ExxonMobil Refinery Explosion

Publish Date: 2017-05-09
Category: Industry News

On May 3, 2017, the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued its final report on the explosion that occurred at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, California, on February 18, 2015. The blast caused serious property damage to the refinery and scattered catalyst dust into the nearby community. Four contract employees sought first aid for injuries sustained while fleeing the area. The incident caused the refinery to be run at limited capacity for over a year causing gasoline prices to rise in California. The CSB investigation also discovered that a large piece of debris from the explosion narrowly missed hitting a tank containing tens of thousands of pounds of modified hydrofluoric acid which is highly toxic.

The explosion occurred in the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit. The CSB determined that on the day of the incident a slide valve that acted as a barrier between the hydrocarbon side and air side of the FCC unit failed and ultimately allowed hydrocarbons to flow into the air side of the FCC where they ignited in the electrostatic precipitator causing the explosion.

The CSB investigation found:

  • Multiple gaps in the refinery’s process safety management (PSM) system which allowed for operation of the FCC unit without proper procedures, pre-established safe operating limits, and criteria for shut down.
  • The refinery relied on safeguards that could not be verified and reuse of a previous procedure variance without a sufficient hazard analysis.
  • The slide valve was degraded significantly. This safety-critical safeguard did not work as intended when needed during an emergency and hydrocarbons were able to reach an ignition source.
  • In multiple instances leading up to the incident, the refinery directly violated ExxonMobil’s corporate safety standards. For example, during work leading up to the incident, workers violated corporate lock-out / tag-out requirements.

The CSB concluded that a more robust PSM system should have been in place.


Read the CSB news release.
Read the CSB report.
View the CSB animation of the explosion.

Primatech completes a dust hazard analysis project

Publish Date: 2017-04-28
Category: Primatech News

Primatech recently facilitated a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) study for a power generation client. The project supported the client’s program to comply with NFPA standards 652 and 654. The study team identified recommendations for improvements to enhance safety and mitigate potential dust hazards. For more on Primatech’s DHA-related consulting services, please click here.

Primatech to Exhibit at the 30th Annual Environmental, Health and Safety Seminar

Publish Date: 2017-04-25
Category: Primatech News

Primatech will be exhibiting at the 30th Annual Environmental, Health & Safety Seminar, June 5-8, 2017 in Galveston, Texas. Please be sure to stop by our booth at the Moody Gardens convention center.

Shawn Metzler from Primatech will be available to discuss how Primatech's consulting, training, and software can assist in meeting your organization's process safety objectives.

Be sure to drop off your business card at Primatech's booth for a chance to win a Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth Wireless Speaker!

EPA Further Delays the Effective Date of the RMP Rule Amendments

Publish Date: 2017-04-24
Category: Industry News

On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule to further delay the effective date of the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule amendments for 20 months until February 19, 2019. This action is intended to allow EPA to consider several petitions for reconsideration of the RMP rule amendments and take further regulatory action. EPA held a public hearing regarding the proposed effective date on April 19, 2017. Written comments must be received by May 19, 2017.

For further information, see:

Final Amendments to the Risk Management Program (RMP) Rule