BlueGreen Alliance | Washington Department of Labor and Industries Issues Long Overdue Protections for Oil Refinery Workers

Washington Department of Labor and Industries Issues Long Overdue Protections for Oil Refinery Workers

January 5, 2024
SEATTLE, WA – On December 27, 2023 the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) issued their final revisions to the Process Safety Management (PSM) Rule. These regulations create safer working conditions for oil refinery employees.

The updated rule will require that oil refineries follow the L&I safety regulations. The rule includes:

  • Collaborating with elected worker representatives throughout all phases of process safety decision making; 
  • Protecting the rights of all employees and contractors to shut down any operation that could cause serious harm;
  • Implementing an effective PSM training program in collaboration with employees; 
  • Documenting all problems addressed by PSM issues through a written corrective action program; and
  • Conducting a compliance audit every three years.

However, the new rule will not take effect until December 27, 2024. This is a change from most L&I rules, which often take effect 31 days after adoption.

Following the announcement of the updated PSM Rule, the BlueGreen Alliance released a statement from Washington State Policy Manager Maya Gillett:

“Washington State has finally backed up promises with action. We applaud L&I for releasing a rule that protects workers from preventable dangers on the job and reduces the risks of refinery incidents for the communities and natural resources that surround refinery facilities. 

“Our state has witnessed too many tragedies at refineries. This rule mandates all petroleum refinery companies properly train and collaborate with their employees on their PSM program. This employee-centric approach could and should carry over to other industries to ensure the safety and health of workers and the environment.

“While we’d hoped for swifter implementation, we call on all companies to embrace these new regulations at their refineries as quickly as possible to ensure safer conditions for their workers and safer communities around them.”