Oil giant Shell was fined $80,000 on Monday for lapses in workplace safety that led to a 32-hour fire at the company’s Pulau Bukom oil refinery in September last year.
Court papers stated that while draining a pipeline, its contractors had used a method that allowed flammable gases to accumulate in the air.
The pipeline was connected to a tank of naphtha, a volatile liquid, and passed through a pump house where petroleum products were mixed. The contractors had used metal trays to collect the naphtha flowing out of the tank.
Prosecutors from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that the release of naphtha in this manner not only allowed volatile vapours to escape but also led to an accumulation of static charges, which might have produced a spark to ignite the naphtha vapours.