5th Anniversary of West Fertilizer Explosion: Lessons Learned and Not Learned

Five years ago tonight a fire broke out at the West Fertilizer company in West, Texas. Emergency responders rushed toward the facility which contained 40 to 60 tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate, but twenty minutes later a massive explosion ripped through the building killing 12 responders and three others, injuring 252 and damaging or destroying…

Dispatches From The Front Lines of the Battle For Workplace Safety: Short Stuff

More Freedom and More Catastrophic Fertilizer Explosions: After a catastrophic ammonium nitrate explosion at West Fertilizer exploded in 2013 killed 15 people, injured 130 more and destroyed much of the town of West, OSHA discovered that the facility was not covered by OSHA’s Process Safety Management and had therefore not been inspected since the mid-1980s.…

5 Workers Dead in Gas Rig Explosion at Company with History of Safety Problems

Five gas rig workers are presumed dead after an explosion  gas rig in Quinton, OK.  The names of the employees are Matt Smith of McAlester, Parker Waldridge of Crescent and Roger Cunningham from Seminole — and two from neighboring states, Josh Ray of Fort Worth, Texas; and Cody Risk of Wellington, Colorado. For much of the…

GAO to OSHA: What’s Up With Workplace Violence and Ammonium Nitrate?

The Republican Congress may not be fulfilling it responsibility to provide oversight over a Republican-controlled OSHA, but the Government Accountability Office is still on the job.  The GAO is Congress’s “watchdog” and investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Over the past couple of years, the GAO has investigated OSHA’s activities around protecting healthcare workers…

California Makes Major Move to Protect Refinery Workers (and communities in their shadow)

It’s not all bad news out there. While Washington sucks workers down into an abyss of corporate anarchy, the State of California is showing us that humans can be rational and protective of their fellow beings. Despite efforts by federal EPA to roll back its Risk Management Program improvements, other Trump administration attacks on worker…

If CSB Swims with the Fishes; American People Suffer the Consequences

America, we have a problem. And it promises to get worse. 2 Killed in Explosion at West Virginia Industrial Plant Insurance Journal, May 30, 2017 Residents Shaken By Oil Tank Explosion CBS, May 26, 207 Chemical reaction forces evacuation of Waco industrial plant May 12, 2017 Officials Blame Mechanical Failure For Explosion at Dow Plant Chem.Info-Mar…

Industry Uses Unproven Arson Claim to Repeal Chemical Safety Rule

Chemical industry representatives are using unproven allegations that a criminal act caused the catastrophic 2013 West Texas explosion to try to kill an important chemical safety rule. Millions of people live and work in the shadow of high-risk chemical plants that store and use highly hazardous chemicals.  The House of Representatives is expected to vote…