West Fertilizer Company Cited for Safety Violations

he chair of the U.S. Senate committee investigating a blast that leveled several city blocks of the small town of West, Texas, announced Thursday that the United States Department of Labor will cite the West Fertilizer Company for 24 major safety violations that led to the April 17 explosion at the plant.

That explosion killed 15 people and destroyed homes in the area, causing millions of dollars in damage.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has leveled a $118,300 fine against the plant for the violations, which includes exposing workers to ammonium nitrate -- ammonium nitrate is the compound that is believed to have ignited and caused the explosion at the plant.

OSHA violations include unsafe handling and storage of ammonium nitrate; misplaced labeling of tanks; failure to pressure test hoses; inadequate valves; lack of precautionary safety valves; failure to have emergency response plan; lack of fire extinguishers, and also a number of violations for lack of safety plans, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, said during a conference call Thursday morning.

After learning about the safety violations, Boxer described the West fertilizer plant as "an accident waiting to happen."

The citations were issued on Wednesday, but due to the government shutdown the violations were not able to be revealed at that time. Boxer said she held the Thursday conference call to share the latest developments with members of the media.

Read more: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/West-Fertilizer-Company-Cited-for-Safety-Violations-227228191.html

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