In November 2014, a worker was overcome at a DuPont chemical manufacturing facility when a supply line unexpectedly released more than 20,000 lb of methyl mercaptan, a deadly chemical. Three co-workers came to the worker’s aid in an attempted rescue, but all four were asphyxiated fatally by the colorless, flammable, and highly toxic gas.
After the initial investigation into the four deaths, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found hazards that prompted the inspection at the facility to be expanded under the National Emphasis Program for chemical facilities.
OSHA has issued citations to DuPont for three willful, one repeat, and four serious violations at the company’s chemical manufacturing plant in La Porte, Texas. The agency has proposed penalties of $273,000 for these new violations.
OSHA placed the company in a Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The program concentrates resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference toward creating a safe and healthy workplace by committing willful or repeated violations, and/or failing to abate known hazards. It also mandates follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.