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OSHA: Proper Protections Could Have Saved 4 DuPont Workers Killed By Gas

  Four plant workers died from exposure to poisonous gas at the La Porte DuPont chemical plant, November 15, 2014. Image credit: U.S. Chemical Safety Board. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited DuPont for 11 safety violations Thursday following its investigation into the deaths of four plant workers. They were killed on Nov. […]

 

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Four plant workers died from exposure to poisonous gas at the La Porte DuPont chemical plant, November 15, 2014. Image credit: U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited DuPont for 11 safety violations Thursday following its investigation into the deaths of four plant workers.

They were killed on Nov. 15, 2014 after a poisonous gas leak at the DuPont chemical plant in La Porte. That is where 313 workers manufacture crop protection materials and chemicals.

OSHA officials said the methyl mercaptan gas was unexpectedly released when a worker opened a drain on a methyl mercaptan vent line. The woman who opened the drain was overwhelmed by the gas and three co-workers who came to her aid were also overcome, investigators said.

All four people died in the building.

“Four people lost their lives and their families lost loved ones because DuPont did not have proper safety procedures in place,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said in a news release Thursday. “Had the company assessed the dangers involved, or trained their employees on what to do if the ventilation system stopped working, they might have had a chance.”

The department also said it identified scores of safety upgrades the company must undertake to prevent future accidents. OSHA has fined the company $99,000.

The company has fifteen business days to comply or to contest the findings. 

 

Statement from DuPont: 

Since the November 15th tragic incident at La Porte, DuPont has taken a series of actions to prevent this from ever happening again.

In the Lannate® unit, we are conducting completely new process hazards analyses, acting on findings from our own investigation, and the unit will not restart until this work is complete. Additionally, as part of our commitment to the highest standards of safety, health and the environment, we are also conducting a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of our Process Safety Management systems.

The company also continues to cooperate with federal and state authorities, as they complete their investigations, including OSHA. We are reviewing the OSHA findings.

Safety is a core value and constant priority at DuPont. Our response to this tragedy reinforces our absolute focus on safety and enables us to learn from it so that we can find ways to be an even better company.

 

Complete list of the citations:

 

Related Stories:

Investigators: La Porte Workers Died In Building With Broken Vent Fans

Design Flaws Led To Poison Gas Leak At DuPont Plant in La Porte

 

 

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