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Safety violations cited in fatal Texas fertilizer plant explosion

10.10.2013  |  HP News Services

The West fertilizer facility that exploded earlier this year, killing 15 people, was cited by OSHA for 24 violations of worker safety protections and issued a proposed fine of $118,300.

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WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- The fertilizer facility in Texas that exploded earlier this year, killing 15 people, was cited Wednesday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 24 violations of worker safety protections and issued a proposed fine of $118,300.

In April, a fire at the Adair Grain Inc. facility in the town of West ignited ammonium nitrate stored there. The resulting blast left a crater 93 feet by 10 feet.

Adair was cited for “serious safety violations” by OSHA for exposing workers to explosion or fire hazards and for its unsafe handling and storage of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia. Before the blast, OSHA inspectors hadn’t been to the fertilizer depot since February 1985.

The violations were disclosed by California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer today because the government shutdown prevented the agency from making an announcement. The Labor Department provided a copy of the complaint to Bloomberg News.

The company can contest the violations and penalties.

“The attorneys are reviewing it,” said Daniel Keeney, a spokesman for the company. “But they don’t believe these allegations have anything to do with the accident in April.”

Federal inspectors visited the Texas plant after its April explosion and found violations of safety regulations, including failing to have appropriate fire extinguishers, poor respiratory protection, combustible materials stored in bins that are not fire resistant and the lack of a hazard communication plan.



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peter wigley
11.07.2013

I have commented on this explosion before. Anybody who messes around with Ammonium Nitrate is playing with fire. As I said previously I remember as a boy seeing newsreels about the explosion of a ship carrying ammonium nitrate in Texas city. Also on September 12,the day after Sept 11 in New York an ammonium nitrate explosion demolished a plant owned by Total in Toulouse France. This was unnoticed in the furore following Septt 11 but I heard about it as I was working for an ExxonCemical/ Total JV in Antwerp at the time. Terrorism was not suspected but the source of ignition was never satisfactorily established

Chandan Sinha
10.19.2013

"Before the blast, OSHA inspectors hadn’t been to the fertilizer depot since February 1985." OSHA should audit at regular interval.

John Peters
10.15.2013

Is it possible to get a copy of the 24 violations so learnings can be applied to the design and operation of comparable and other facilities?

keshav
10.11.2013

safety

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