Reuters: Worker group alleges unsafe practices at Marathon Minnesota refinery

Reuters News Agency - Laura Sanicola

Inadequate safety standards at Marathon Petroleum's St. Paul Park refinery in Minnesota have caused avoidable hydrocarbon and chemical releases that pose a threat to the community, a local worker advocacy group said in a report on Sunday, as a lockout of unionized plant workers extends into its third month.

The report by Local Jobs North, a union-backed organization, said that lax safety standards at the plant led to mistakes that could have ignited volatile hydrocarbons. It also cited inadequate installation of safety controls for pipe repair operations and use of poorly constructed scaffolding.

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"As a firefighter, I feel this is unsafe for myself and the community, especially because we deal with hazardous chemicals regularly."

- Matt Foss, Fire Mechanic and Rescue Squad Lieutenant, St. Paul Park Refinery