legislation article (assignment 4, task 2.2)

on april 17th, 2013, at west texas plant fertilizer factory, a major explosion occurred that destroyed  up to 150 buidings that were hundreds of yards away. the ammonium nitrate stored at the plant blew up and caused over 200 casualties and 14 deaths. this accident was directly linked to the limited number of safety regulations and the lack of enforcement of the few regulations actually in place. even though the plant was registered with a number of state and federal agencies, the OSHA hadnt conducted a health and safety check for around 28 years.

the OSHA accused the plant of violating the standards for respiratory protection but did not issue any sort of fine and deemed it out of their ‘national emphasis plan’ and not a major risk. this lack of attention to the plant could have been one of the contributing factors to the explosion as if a health and safety check had happened more recently, regulations could have been put in place to avoid the accident. regulations in place that the company violated included a lack of permit for two storage tanks of anhydrous ammonia, failure to file a risk management program and  Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for storage of anhydrous ammonia violations.

the facility lacked even a fenced perimeter or burglar alarms that resulted in a history of theft from the premises, most likely for the production of methamphetamine.

the investigation showed that regulations werent followed for the storage of the hazardous chemicals that likely caused the explosion and that local and state regulations of the handling of hazardous materials were not adequate.

”In April 2015, three bills regulating storage and inspection of ammonium nitrate and a fourth bill to create a statewide notification system alerting the public about any hazardous chemical leak at a manufacturing facility were introduced in the Texas Legislature.” -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Fertilizer_Company_explosion

in this case, the regulations and legislations at the plant were not very effective as not all of them were followed which most likely resulted in this entirely preventable explosion. it is both the states fault for lack of regulations in place for this company when it comes to not only the storage and handling of hazardous materials or health and safety in general but the positioning of the plant as it was too close to the town and the explosion resulted in the destruction of many buildings including a school and nursing home. but even the few regulations in place were not followed effectively so in this case i think it is both the company’s fault and the fault of ineffective regulations and legislations.

 

sources:

http://work.chron.com/examples-lack-regulations-workplace-safety-20349.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Fertilizer_Company_explosion

https://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/07/proposed-bill-aims-prevent-another-fertilizer-blas/

 

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