Well, check out just how much this company ended up having to pay for their negligence.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 24 citations to the West Fertilizer Company for serious safety violations found in an investigation following the deadly explosion there in April.
Fifteen people were killed and more than 160 were injured in the April 17 blast. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D – Calif., announced the citations on a conference call with reporters Thursday morning.
Boxer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, is heading the charge at the Capitol to determine whether regulations were followed at the fertilizer plant ahead of the April blast. She said the owner, Adair Grain Inc., will have to pay $118,300 in fines. The citations were issued Wednesday morning, Boxer said.
The explosion, which left a crater 90 feet wide and 10 feet deep, caused more than $100 million in property damages, according to a report by the Insurance Council of Texas. More than 200 homes were destroyed or damaged. In May, a $1 million investigation by state and federal officials did not find a concrete cause for the explosion.
The fire did begin in the plant’s seed room, which backed up to an ammonium nitrate storage bin. The location housed 150 tons of the chemical, of which between 28 and 34 exploded. The force of the ammonium nitrate explosion was equal to 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of dynamite exploding.
Boxer said she scheduled the conference call because she is concerned that inspections of facilities housing large amounts of chemicals are lagging due to the government shut down.
“I’m stepping in here in the hopes that, as a result of my telling you these things, maybe another explosion could be prevented,” she said.
The citations, which Boxer repeatedly described as “serious safety violations,” are for, among other things, unsafe handling and storage of anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate. OSHA found poor labeling of ammonia storage tanks as well as replacement hoses that were not tested for pressure.
The West Fertilizer Co. was found to have inadequate relief valves and no barrier protection around the ammonia piping. There was no respiratory protection program, OSHA found, nor were there appropriate fire extinguishers. Forklift operators were not property trained and the fertilizer plant did not have a hazard communication program or an emergency response plan.
16 people die, 160 are injured and huge number of people are put out of their homes and businesses; and the only thing this company has to pay is $118.000?!?! This is an outrage! The owners of this company ought to be brought up on murder charges for their negligence.
The investigation into the West explosion is ongoing. More fines are possible, Boxer said.
I won’t hold my breath, least I turn blue and die. As you all know, I am a Paleoconservative of the Pat Buchanan stripe. However, there is one thing that I cannot stand and I have been known to speak out against it on here; and that crony capitalism. This was nothing more than a corporate whitewashing of an ugly accident by the Texas office of OSHA, in concert with this company.
I think that if the Obama administration was worth a tinker’s damn; that he would order a full investigation by the justice department and see if there was any criminal liability on the part of the owners and if so, see if charges could be brought against the owners of this company. Sixteen lives were snuffed out, because the owners of this company could not be bothered to follow OSHA’s rules. This is unacceptable and something should be done.
However, because we have a President and an Attorney General, who are nothing more than a bunch of “House Negros”, nothing will be done at all.