Oklahoma refinery faces $281,000 in fines after fatal blast in 2012

Operators of an Oklahoma refinery repeatedly violated workplace safety rules, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday. Wynnewood Refining Co. faces $281,000 in fines.
by Phillip O'Connor Published: April 5, 2013

Family members respond to action

Kari Smith, widow of Billy Smith, disagreed, saying the OSHA and company reports aren't as consistent as CVR contends.

Because of the serious nature of the hazards, OSHA placed the company in a program that focuses on “recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure to abate violations.”

“They made big mistakes and they just really don't want that out there,” said Kari Smith, of Pauls Valley. “My husband's gone because of it.”

Russell Mann's widow expressed anger that many of the problems with the boiler that OSHA cited in 2008 were never fixed.

“Five years later, it caused two deaths,” LeeAnna Mann said.

Both widows believe the OSHA fine was too low.

“If they appeal and get it lowered then it's going to be even less,” Mann said. “That's sad. Just sad.”

Beverly Badgley, the mother of Billy Smith, said both she and another son are satisfied with the report's findings.

“We have what we wanted,” she wrote in an email. “God has taken it into his hands, smitten the refinery through OSHA and allowed Billy's death to count for something. What more can a mother and brother want?”

Wynnewood Mayor Mike Perry said he doesn't foresee the OSHA penalties causing any long-term problems for the refinery or the town.

“I think they can well afford the fine,” Perry said. “I don't think it will shut them down or anything.”


by Phillip O'Connor
Enterprise Editor
O'Connor joined the Oklahoman staff in June, 2012 after working at The Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch for a combined 28 years. O'Connor, an Oklahoma City resident, is a graduate of Kansas State University. He has written frequently...
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