A longtime employee of the BP refinery in Carson died early yesterday morning while on the job. The L.A. County Coroner identifies him today as 54-year-old white man William Barry Wise, an Irvine resident.

BP spokesman Walter Neil told the hounding press that Wise had been working in an area of the refinery where railcars are loaded with “light” products (like gasoline, as opposed to heavier stuff like tar or asphalt) when, at about 8 a.m., one of the cars somehow pinned him down.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department initially responded to the scene…

… but tells us that the Torrance branch of Cal/OSHA, the state's worker-protection department, will be handling the investigation from here on out.

Cal/OSHA spokeswoman Patricia Ortiz says Wise “was moving the car into a loading position at a loading rack when the car ran through its designated spot, and the employee was crushed and pinned between objects.”

We've contacted BP for followup. Coroner's spokesman Ed Winters says the victim's autopsy will likely be finished by tomorrow.

The investigation into what happened at the refinery — “whether there was a plan in place in case of an accident, and whether all requirements were being followed by the company” — may not be finished for several months, according to Ortiz.

Did you know William Wise, or are you familiar with his former workplace? Let us know.

BP's Carson refinery produces 25 percent of all Los Angeles gas — on 265,000 barrels of oil a day — and employs a total of 1,200 workers. Due to financial problems created by the big Gulf of Mexico spill a few years ago, however, the company will be selling its Carson location by the end of 2012.


LA Weekly