An explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas on April 17 caught the attention of the nation—as is evident in this terrifying footage caught by a witness. At least 14 people died in the blast and over 200 more were injured, according to the Associated Press.
The fertilizer plant initially caught fire before a larger explosion, which killed many firefighters that were attempting to extinguish the blaze. Fertilizer plants contain methane and other extremely combustible materials. According to Reuters, the plant was storing over 270 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at the time of the fire. Federal law requires high amounts to be registered with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which it was not. The Texas Department of State Health Services claimed it was aware of the amount of the chemical being stored, but did not report it to DHS.
Even more disturbing are the reports that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had not inspected the facility since 1985. OSHA issued a $30 fine for a serious violation relating to the storage of anhydrous ammonia during its last visit, nearly 30 years ago.
How did the inspection of such a large facility slip through the cracks on so many different levels? It is terrifying when you start to think of how many other facilities may be operation in violation of serious OSHA regulations across the country.
Further information on OSHA and workers comp is available on our website. Call our offices at (614) 221-7548 if you have been injured on the job.
Tip of the week: There were 4,609 workers killed on the job in 2011 according to the US Department of Labor.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys
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