May 2, 2019 / 10:56 PM / in 24 days

API revises standard to reduce worker fatigue in refineries, chemical plants

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The American Petroleum Institute issued on Thursday a revised standard aimed at reducing fatigue among workers in the nation’s refineries and chemical plants, the trade group said.

The fatigue standard, officially called Recommended Practice (RP) 755, was first issued in 2010, based on the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s finding that worker fatigue was one of the factors in the 2005 explosion at BP Plc’s refinery in Texas City, Texas, which killed 15 workers and injured 180 others.

The revised RP 755 is intended to further tighten the limits on the number of consecutive hours and days work may be required including during malfunctions and shutdowns.

“The second edition of RP 755 advances unified and condensed requirements to avoid fatigue for all workers involved in safety sensitive processes,” said Debra Phillips, vice president of API’s Global Industry Services division in a statement issued on Thursday.

The United Steelworkers union (USW), which represents 30,000 workers in the oil industry did not reply to a request for comment on Thursday.

USW officials have in the past criticized the standard for being too easy for refinery and chemical plant managers to bypass or abuse.

It is up to individual companies to decide how to implement RP 755, if at all.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; editing by Diane Craft

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