July 10, 2015 — Following last year’s deadly gas leak at a chemical plant in Texas, government regulators have put DuPont in its “severe violator enforcement program” and warned that the incident shows the company has a “failed safety program.”
The program focuses inspection resources on employers who have demonstrated indifference to their obligations to protect worker safety by committing willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) proposed fines of $273,000 against DuPont for eight violations — three “willful,” one “repeat,” and four “serious” — at an herbicide plant in La Porte, Texas where four workers died last year. DuPont was also fined $99,000 in May for eight serious and one repeat violation at the facilities in Texas.
In a statement, a spokesman for OSHA said:
“DuPont promotes itself as having a ‘world-class safety’ culture and even markets its safety expertise to other employers, but these four preventable workplace deaths and the very serious hazards we uncovered at this facility are evidence of a failed safety program.”
In November 2014, a worker at a DuPont chemical manufacturing facility was overcome when a supply line unexpectedly released more than 20,000 lbs. of methyl mercaptan. Three workers came to his rescue, but all four died from asphyxiation by the colorless, flammable, and highly toxic gas.
DuPont has shut down the herbicide unit to fix any problems and said it will work with OSHA to address the findings, according to Bloomberg Business.
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