Company that Operated the Fertilizer Plant Where an Explosion Took Place in April Faces Fines for Two Dozen Safety Violations
The Texas company that operated a fertilizer plant where a thunderous explosion in April killed 15 people is facing $118,300 in fines for two dozen serious safety violations, including a failure to have an emergency response plan, federal officials said Thursday.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administrationsaid West Fertilizer Co. committed violations that included unsafe handling and storage of two fertilizers, anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate. The facility, which OSHA had not inspected since 1982, was also cited for inadequate labeling of storage tanks, failing to pressure test replacement hoses and not having respiratory protection or appropriate fire extinguishers.
The agency issued the citations Wednesday, but due to the government shutdown, they were not disclosed until Thursday, when Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., announced them in a conference call with reporters.
Dan Keeney, a spokesman for the West Fertilizer Co., said the company’s lawyers were reviewing the citations and proposed fine. The company has 15 days to pay the fine or file an administrative appeal with OSHA. OSHA’s proposed penalties could be reduced.