For many Austin, Texas, residents, the tragic explosion of a West, Texas, fertilizer plant is one of the most tragic workplace accidents across the United States. The 30 thousand tons of fertilizer exploded and shook the ground with a 2.1 magnitude on the Richter scale. The incident claimed 15 lives, 12 of them firefighters. The history of workplace violations of fertilizer plants goes back to 1985.
Overall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees the safety of all worksites across the country. More than 4,000 workers die in the line of duty, while a staggering 49,000 illnesses and work-related injuries occur every year.