Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from theadvocate.com. I noticed this article recently because OSHA has extended its comment period on standards tied to improving chemical safety after the West, Texas, explosion. That process is in response to an executive order “which seeks to improve chemical facility safety and security,” according to the link above.
If OSHA protects workers to the greatest extent possible, that may also help consumers and those who live by these chemical plants. The lawsuit written about below was a result of an explosion involving chemicals in Oklahoma that happened after the West explosion. Some of the problems that workers faced, maybe even the explosion itself, potentially could have been prevented if the plant would have cared about and been more aware of worker – both employee and contractor – safety.
A contractor suing over the fatal June 13 Williams Olefins explosion at its Geismar plant raises recent federal workplace safety violations brought against the Tulsa, Okla., company and alleges Williams has a history of problems handling chemicals.
Filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, the new suit brought by Abraham J. Bosley of Iberville Parish is the ninth in state or federal court over the explosion and the third brought this month.
Two of the older cases have been dismissed.
A flammable vapor cloud ignited from ruptured equipment in the company’s propylene fractionation unit, causing a massive fireball, a Williams investigation found.
At the time, the plant was undergoing expansion, and 839 employees and contractors were on site. The blast killed two and injured 114 people.
Investigators with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board have focused on a reboiler, or heat exchanger, that a safety board official said “failed catastrophically” inside the fractionation unit.
The most serious of the six OSHA violations brought last year involves Williams’ operation of that kind of equipment while idle.
Bosley alleges Williams had a history of “citations, warnings and shut-downs due to improper storage and handling of chemicals including propylene,” the suit says.
“This included a citation in 2010 for releasing excess amounts of ethylene, and a December 2012 plant shut down for a…