Last year, four workers were killed in a gas leak in a Texas DuPont plant. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board recently announced its findings after an investigation into the accident. The report found that neither workers nor the public are protected against chemical exposure by equipment or safety procedures at the plant.
The unit where the workers died did not have proper air monitoring or ventilation that would have ensured the workers’ safety. Proper procedures were not followed that would not have allowed workers to have access to areas where ventilation fans were not working. Although the plant is currently undergoing an assessment of its equipment, the assessment is only 35 percent complete, has limited resources, and is far behind schedule.
The workers who were killed died after being exposed to a deadly gas that is used to manufacture an insecticide. Workers did not realize that they were releasing the deadly gas. The piping that the workers opened that release the gas was intended to emit nitrogen vapor. The investigation also found that the building had a poor ventilation system, and that even if the ventilation fans had been working, the design of the building may not have protected workers from the gas being released. OSHA recently fined DuPont $372,000 for safety violations and placed the company on a special program for safety violators.
Many companies place a low priority on workers’ safety. If they fail to take steps to keep workers safe, the company can be held liable. Injured employees may be able to recover workers’ compensation. In some cases, the employees can sue their employer or a negligent third party.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, it’s critical to speak with an attorney. If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, call the Barber Law Firm at 972-231-5800.