Most of us remember the big explosion that occurred in April this year at Adair Grain, Inc., in Texas, where 15 employees lost their lives. The huge blast at the fertilizer plant left a huge hole in the ground as a memorial. Well, OSHA has finally finished their inspection, finding 24 violations where they claim the company did not use proper safety protection for workers.
The OSHA violations include things such as failing to provide the appropriate fire extinguishers, having non fire-resistant bins with combustible materials in them, and inadequate respiratory protection. The federal inspectors also cited Adair for not having an adequate communication plan.
Attorneys are reviewing these violations and believe they had nothing to do with the explosion in April. The violations come with an $118,300 proposed fine. Of course, Adair has 15 days to appeal the violations or prove they are not legitimate.
Whether the citations are legitimate or not, the OSHA must always investigate a factory or workplace when there has been an accident or injuries of this magnitude that shook the nation. However, if the violations have nothing to do with the accident, they should not be classified as the cause. This could certainly affect the company in legalities regarding the accident and future lawsuits.
It was also noted that the OSHA has not inspected this fertilizer plant since 1985. The violations listed do not appear to be too numerous considering there has not been an inspection for such a length of time, so it could be noted that the company seemed to following workplace safety cautions for the most part. Respecting the OSHA's necessary position and role, unfortunately accidents do sometimes occur regardless of the best intentions to keep a workplace as safe as possible.
Source: bloomberg.com, "OSHA Cites Texas Fertilizer Plant for 24 Safety Violations" Mark Drajem, Oct. 10, 2013