OSHA cites West Fertilizer for 24 safety violations

10 October 2013 16:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The company that owns the fertilizer distribution site where a fatal explosion occurred on 17 April in West has been cited for 24 serious safety violations and is facing a proposed fine of $118,300 (€87,542) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed on Thursday.

The violations against West Fertilizers include unsafe handling and storage of ammonia and ammonium nitrate. In addition the federal agency has cited the company for lacking an emergency plan, respiratory protection or an appropriate amount of fire extinguishers.

OSHA’s action was announced by Senator Barbara Boxer, chairperson of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, as the agency is currently closed by the government shutdown. Boxer said that the agency had found that the company was lacking in many areas in regards to safety. She further said that to her knowledge OSHA’s investigation into the facility was not yet complete.

The ammonium nitrate fuel explosion ripped apart the distribution facility in the small Texas community on the evening of 17 April and resulted in 15 deaths, injured 200 and caused an estimated $100m in property damages.

“I think this explosion should wake some people up. Right now, God forbid, if there was another explosion somewhere, we have the Chemical Safety Board almost entirely on furlough, the EPA is more than 90% shut down, OSHA is furloughed, even the Nuclear Regulatory Committee is mostly shut down,” said Boxer.

($1 = €0.74)

 


By: Mark Milam



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