4 companies named in Louisiana chemical plant explosion – American Press

Federal labor regulators have cited four employers for safety violations related to an explosion that injured workers at a Louisiana chemical plant.

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced 11 serious violations on Thursday. The agency proposed a total of $139,000 in penalties for the four companies that have employees stationed at Westlake Chemical’s Sulfur plant.

A flash fire and subsequent explosion seriously injured six workers on September 27. Violations included failure to perform equipment inspections, allowing hazardous work in confined spaces and exposing workers to harmful chemicals, OSHA said in a news release.

Westlake Chemical had three violations with proposed fines of approximately $30,400. Sulfur-based wastewater specialties had two violations with proposed fines of approximately $24,800.

Two Texas-based companies were also named: Turn2 Specialty Companies committed four violations with proposed fines of approximately $58,000 and Leak Sealers Inc. committed two violations with proposed fines of approximately $26,100.

“Employers are responsible for ensuring employees have a safe workplace by having the correct confined space permits and a plan in place to inspect equipment to prevent serious injury,” said Roderic Chube, regional director of OSHA in Baton Rouge.

A similar explosion at a nearby Westlake Chemical plant on Jan. 26 injured six employees and rocked the Lake Charles area. It was not addressed in citations Thursday.

At least 23 workers are suing the company for broken bones, burns and other injuries, according to The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. Westlake declined to discuss the explosions and did not immediately respond to the media’s request for comment on the security breaches.