THE Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Adair Grain Inc., the parent company of West Fertilizer Co., penalties totaling $118,300 for 24 workplace violations.
Due to the government shutdown, the OSHA public affairs staff was unable to announce the action. Therefore, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Cal.), chair of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, made the announcement during a press conference last week.
"I'm stepping in here so, as a result of my telling you these things, another explosion could be prevented," Boxer said when announcing the results of OSHA's investigation.
The Oct. 9 OSHA citation was issued after the agency completed its investigation of the deadly April 17 explosion at the West, Texas, facilities that killed 15 people and injured 200.
Improperly training workers for the job, unsafe handling and storage of explosive and flammable chemicals, mislabeling storage tanks and failure to have an emergency response plan were among the violations cited.
The federal shutdown has also delayed completion of an investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board on the explosion.
On Aug. 1, President Barack Obama issued an executive order imposing a series of deadlines for federal agencies to review and submit preliminary proposals for improving chemical safety and security.
The first deadline for agencies to submit proposals is Nov. 1. As a result of the shutdown, Boxer anticipated that the deadlines would not be reached.