CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — State safety regulators announced Tuesday they are seeking $707,000 in fines against Sinclair Oil Corp. after alleging 22 safety violations at the company's refinery in south-central Wyoming, including a toxic gas release that sickened dozens of workers in May.
The bulk of the fines — $420,000 — against Salt Lake City-based Sinclair are for what the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration Division classifies as "willful" safety violations.
The division said the violations include failing to properly address releases of toxic gases. One release of sulfur dioxide at the refinery in the tiny town of Sinclair on May 7 sickened about 35 workers, including two who were taken to the hospital for evaluation, Wyoming OSHA Administrator John Ysebaert said.
The exposure happened when the prevailing wind didn't carry the gas away from the plant like usual, Ysebaert added.
"It blew the fumes, the gases, back into the plant," he said.
The state agency also says Sinclair failed to fix an emergency eye wash station despite three previous citations or develop safe operating procedures for two systems at the refinery.
Sinclair didn't immediately respond to messages seeking clarification on whether it intends to pay the fines.
In a statement, Sinclair Vice President Clint Ensign said the company is working in good faith with state safety officials.
"Many of these concerns have been corrected or are in the process of being mitigated," he said.
Ysebaert said the state OSHA office recognizes that effort.