Recently, federal safety inspectors cited the West, Texas company that operated the fertilizer plant where an explosion killed 15 people with 24 safety violations and a $118,300 fine.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said West Fertilizer Co. committed violations that included unsafe handling and storage of two fertilizers, anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate. The company was also cited for failure to have an emergency response plan, respiratory protection or appropriate fire extinguishers.
The Labor Department issued the citations, and California Senator Barbara Boxer disclosed them the next day due to most of the Labor Department being closed due to the government shutdown. The company has 15 days to pay the fine or file an administrative appeal with OSHA.
Boxer stated that despite the government shutdown, companies need to be aware of citations in order to help prevent incidents like the West, Texas tragedy.
“All of these things that they are cited for are pretty much standard operating procedure with how you deal with these chemicals,” Boxer told reporters.
The magnitude of the April blast at West Fertilizer shook the tiny town of West, Texas, registering as a small earthquake. Blast victims included 10 first responders and two others who volunteered, as well as workers within the plant.
Preventing Accidents and Making the Workplace Safer for Employees
The West, Texas plant explosion was a preventable catastrophe, and we commend Senator Boxer for taking the necessary precautions to ensure that it will not happen again.
Employers have an obligation to provide a safe environment for their employees. When they fail to do so, they are putting lives at risk, and should be held liable for their negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an employer’s negligence, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Contact our Austin workers’ compensation attorney today at (512) 474-8346 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Workers’ Compensation Attorney