Three workers sue US Williams for negligence in deadly blast

24 June 2013 23:29  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Three workers injured in the 13 June explosion and fire at the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar, Louisiana, are suing the company for negligence in maintaining its equipment, according to court documents obtained on Monday.

The three workers were pipefitters assigned to fix leaky pipes but were not given safety training or advised of an emergency evacuation plan in case of an accident, the Brent Coon & Associates law firm, which is representing the plaintiffs, said in a news release.

Williams spokesperson Keith Isbell refused to comment on the litigation, citing company policy against doing so.

In the lawsuit, the three workers claim to have suffered “severe injuries and damages”, including “trauma, sweats, panic, anxiety, emotional distress and pain” as well as exposure to airborne contaminants such as ethane, ethylene, propylene and butadiene.

In claiming negligence on the part of Williams, the plaintiffs say that the US-based producer failed to properly maintain and repair gas lines, failed to adopt proper and adequate warning procedures, failed to comply with inspection procedures in place, failed to warn plaintiffs of the dangerous condition caused by the negligent construction and inspection of the propylene tank prior to issuing permits and authorisation to perform work in the area, ratifying and approving improper supervisory procedures and actions, and failing to provide a safe workplace.

The workers are seeking a jury trial and would like a judgement rendered against Williams for an unspecified sum of money that entails payment for pain and mental anguish, medical expenses, wages for back pay and future earnings and attorney fees, among other requests.

Two people died as a result of the Geismar blast and fire, and more than 70 people were injured.

Williams said on Monday that it is developing repair plans for the shutdown plant and that no timetable has been established for getting the plant back to operations.

By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653

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