UPDATE: Two Workers Hospitalized After Acid Spill at Tesoro Refinery

March 10, 2014 13:15 pm · 13 comments


Two workers were hospitalized after sulfuric acid spilled on them at the Tesoro refinery in Martinez this morning, a Contra Costa County hazardous materials official said.

Contra Costa Health Services’ division of hazardous materials received a report at 10:49 a.m. that two workers had been exposed to sulfuric acid at the refinery, located at 150 Solano Way, hazardous materials specialist Maria Duazo said.

The workers were wearing protective clothing at the time of the incident, Duazo said. She did not have any information on the extent of their injuries but said they were taken to a hospital by ambulance.

Hazmat crews were notified of the incident but did not end up responding to the refinery because it was determined that the acid did not pose any further threat, Duazo said.

Two workers were also burned by sulfuric acid in a separate spill that occurred on Feb. 12. In that incident, the workers suffered first- and second-degree burns and were taken to a hospital, but were released later that day.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board sent a letter to Tesoro later in February criticizing the company for barring the agency from investigating the spill.

Tesoro officials countered that they allowed the CSB access to the refinery on multiple occasions and had made refinery employees available for interviews.

A spokesperson for the company was not immediately available to comment on this morning’s incident.

Duazo said today’s spill is not believed to be related to the one last month.

“Our understanding is, it is the same chemical involved but it was not the same process involved,” she said.

RELATED STORY: Tesoro Workers Sprayed with Acid at Martinez Refinery

hati March 10, 2014 at 1:54 PM

how do you have 2 acid spills so close to each other? is it a leak in the line? they should probably inspect those lines.

Scrappy March 10, 2014 at 2:26 PM

What the hell is wrong at that place!? There’s always something. My husband worked there and hated it! Their safety inspections are ridiculous. They just turn the other way until something like this happens. Tesoro needs new unbiased safety inspectors before someone is killed!

Kalifornia Native March 10, 2014 at 3:15 PM

I worked as a private contracter in the refinery’s for a while. The big refinery’s like Shell, Chevron and Exxon had strict safety rules but stuff can happen. We hated going to that place, accident waiting to happen.

Mr. Pink March 10, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Have the lawsuits been filed yet?

RANDOM TASK March 10, 2014 at 3:30 PM

uuuh yeah and they kicked out osha and all other agencies trying to determine any negligence …….guess now they will have to open up and incure a huge fine I would say 250-375 million dollars should give em a good slap. If they skate clean on this one then they also must have the Dems in their pocket……….as most do

I hope they are ok. March 10, 2014 at 4:47 PM

I would like to know more about the current EPA watch list of local refineries and see who is on it and why? A couple years ago Shell I believe it was on it for lack of openness. I forget exactly the reasons, but they do follow one of the highest standards in the world for safety. But it is kind of trick is you dig a little deeper into the way it works. I really think we need more independent watchdogs of these major refineries in such populated areas, esp on fault lines. Do make sure everything reasonable is done, upgrades, safety, for all our good. Yes things can and do happen, even with the best measures. At refineries. And not always confined to the refinery. They make a lot of extremely toxic compounds, chemicals, and also explosive gases and fuels that is inherently dangerous to work with. We all depend on them for our way of life, but this should not mean we should take for granted they are safe. OR that we hear the truth all the time. We do not I believe..

DanMtz March 10, 2014 at 5:14 PM

This refinery used to have a bad safety record, then they seemed to get their stuff together. Now, two incidents back-to-back and they rebuffed inquiries by safety inspectors? It looks like they’ve turned the clock back to the bad old days.

Richard March 10, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Remember Tosco, not much has changed there.

Dorothy March 10, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Tesoro found a way to keep the government out – just don’t let them in.

we drove ..... March 10, 2014 at 6:38 PM

We drove by the drive-in and it SMELLED so bad. Now I know why.

RIII March 10, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Working in a bakery has hazards like getting burned and working in a lumber yard has a splinter hazard, working on a car has other hazards and working in a refinery has several hazards. Driving on a highway is certainly dangerous and yet we all do it even with our family and our kids in the car. When someone is injured on the job, why is the refinery always automatically at fault? I have worked in several refineries, in shipyards and in shops all of my life and I can honestly say that just about every accident that ever occurred was either partly or completely the responsibility of the injured party. A fire in a refinery or a chemical spill can be caused by an individual doing something without following procedures and it’s not always the failure of a pipe, pump or valve or some piece of equipment. Don’t be so quick to assign the blame.

Michelle March 10, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Went to the baseball fields near the drive-in; couldn’t smell a thing.

james March 10, 2014 at 7:47 PM

My father worked for Standard Oil/Chevron back in the day before PPE use all the way to the late 90s with strict safety rules.

He had many stories off accidents and mishaps. When I was a kid, He was burned by acid on his leg. Left a nasty oozing ulcer like wound.

Humans in dangerous environments, things are going to happen.

That plant seems to be cursed from the Tosco days. I knew a guy who was a sub contractor back when Tosco had all those problems. He said he and his coworkers hated getting sent there, and they made sure to kiss their wifes and GF before they left the house….

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