July 10, 2015 — DuPont has been placed in a “severe violator enforcement program” by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) after serious safety problems were discovered at an herbicide plant where four men died last year.
The program helps focus inspection resources on companies that are indifferent to their safety obligations, fail to stop violations, and commit willful, serious, or repeated violations.
In May, OSHA fined DuPont $99,000 for nine violations, and it is now proposing additional fines of $272,000 for three “willful,” one “repeat,” and four “serious” violations.
The incident occurred last November at a DuPont chemical manufacturing plant in La Porte, Texas. A supply line carrying methyl mercaptan unexpectedly released 20,000 lbs. of the colorless, flammable, and highly toxic gas. One worker was immediately overcome, and when three others came to his aid, all four died of asphyxiation.
According to a statement from OSHA:
“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.”
Bloomberg Business reports that DuPont has shut down the herbicide factory in Texas to address safety problems and has promised to cooperate with OSHA.
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