4 workers injured at BP's Whiting refinery in NW Indiana
Saturday, April 29, 2017 09:48PM
WHITING, Ind. -- Four workers have been injured in an industrial accident at northwestern Indiana's sprawling BP Whiting Refinery.
The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports the workers were injured Friday and taken by ambulance to local hospitals.
BP spokesman Michael Adbendhoff said the workers' conditions were not immediately known.
The company said in a statement that the workers were injured in "an incident" at a refinery's power distribution center but provided no additional details.
Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura says the refinery responded to the accident internally with its own in-house fire department, which is not uncommon.
The BP Whiting Refinery employs more than 1,800 workers. The complex converts crude oil from Canada and the Dakotas into gasoline that's sold in seven states across the Midwest. It's the largest refinery in the Midwest.
Four injured in BP Whiting Refinery accident
Joseph S. Pete email@example.com, 219-933-3316
Apr 28, 2017 Updated 4 hrs ago
Four workers were injured in an industrial accident at the BP Whiting Refinery on Friday.
BP spokesman Michael Adbendhoff said the extent of the oil workers' injuries and their conditions were not immediately known.
The injuries, however, were serious enough that they had to be taken by ambulance to local hospitals.
"BP regrets to report that four individuals have been transported to local hospitals as a result of an incident at a power distribution center inside of the refinery," the company said in a statement. "Our primary concern is to help ensure the injured employees receive the care they need. There has been no other impact to the environment or the local community."
BP had no further details about what the incident was, or how it happened.
Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura said the Whiting Fire Department was not called out and the refinery responded to the accident internally with its own in-house fire department, which is not uncommon. The incident had no impact on the city outside the refinery gates, he said.
"Our concern is with the guys who were hurt," he said.
Dave Danko, president of United Steelworkers Local 7-1, which represents more than 1,100 oil workers at the refinery, did not immediately respond to messages.
The injuries at the BP Whiting Refinery took place on Worker's Memorial Day, when hundreds of local USW chapters across the country were calling for improvements in workplace safety, conducting training sessions, and highlighting how accidents are often preventable at ceremonies recognizing workers who were killed or injured on the job. It's an annual day of observance that takes place April 28.
The BP Whiting Refinery, which has tank farms that spill into neighboring Hammond and East Chicago, employs more than 1,800 workers and often has hundreds of union contractors working there on maintenance projects. It converts crude oil from Canada and the Dakotas into gasoline that's sold in seven states across the Midwest, and is the largest refinery in the Midwest.
BP’s Whiting Refinery — a sprawling, 1,400- acre complex near downtown Chicago — can produce enough gasoline each day to fuel 6 million cars. Whiting is the largest refinery in the Midwest — as well as BP’s largest refinery in the world — and it makes enormous contributions to the region’s transportation network. The facility first opened in 1889, as part of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, and for more than 125 years it has been a key anchor of the northwest Indiana economy. Located about 17 miles southeast of downtown Chicago, Whiting is at the intersection of pipelines and railroads that carry its products to far-flung destinations.
BP stores many of these products at its Whiting terminal before moving them across the region. In 2013, the company finished a massive modernization project at the refinery that amounted to the biggest private investment in Indiana’s history. The upgrades have allowed Whiting to process growing supplies of North American crude oil — up to 430,000 barrels a day — including heavy grades from Canada. “The modernization gave Whiting a unique flexibility to access and refine lower-cost crudes,” says Refinery Manager Don Porter.
“It also demonstrated BP’s strategic focus on refineries that are located in the northern part of the country and have strong ties to retail markets.” More recently, Whiting launched a $180 million flare gas recovery project. When completed, this project will allow engineers to recover — and use as fuel for refining processes — additional gases that would normally be released. The refinery also has built a new $235 million treatment unit that will remove additional oil and solids from its waste water, thereby reducing emissions even further. Whiting uses innovative technologies, not only to protect the environment and boost efficiency, but also to improve safety.
For example, to inspect tall gas combustion devices, the refinery has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles — or “drones” — rather than have workers climb up temporary scaffolding. Over the years, Whiting and its employees have supported a diverse range of local and regional institutions, such as Ivy Tech Community College, Purdue University and the Lake Area United Way. In 2015 and 2016, BP sponsored Student Conservation Association environmental projects at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.