West Fertilizer Company Cited for Safety Violations - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

West Fertilizer Company Cited for Safety Violations

Posted: Updated:

(KXAS) -- During a conference call Thursday morning, California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), the Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the chair of the committee investigating the West explosion, announced 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 leveled 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, according to Boxer.

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

Boxer: Government Shutdown Impacting Investigation

The citations were issued on Wednesday, but due to the government shutdown the violations were not able to be revealed. Boxer, who chairs the committee investigating the West explosion, said she held the Thursday conference call to explain to members of the media what the latest developments were.

"I think this explosion should wake some people up," Boxer said during the call. "Right now, God forbid if there was another explosion somewhere. We have the Chemical Safety Board almost entirely on furlough, the EPA is more than 90-percent shutdown, OSHA is furloughed, even the Nuclear Regulatory Committee is mostly shut down."

Boxer said further investigation is on hold due to the shutdown, but that all of the citations are for items authorities believe should be standard operating procedures in chemical plants.

"I do think it's important to ask the people, your Senators for example, why they think shutting down the government is good for the people of Texas? And why it's good that investigations have been stopped in their tracks? And how they feel about more inspectors?" Boxer said.

In July, Boxer outlined her plan for the safer storage of ammonium nitrate following the deadly explosion in Texas.

"I made a pledge to the families and I'm not going to stop until there are more protections in place to prevent chemical disasters like the one in West, Texas," Boxer said in July at a news conference at the Texas capitol building. "There's a lot of things we can't control, you all know that, you can't control a lot of things. We can control this. You have the information, you know what has to be done and it has to be stored in a separate facility when it's present in such large quantities, and be protected from fire, and then people will be protected. It's not rocket science here."

  • Latest NewsMore>>

  • Gatesville Rodeo Welcomes Troops Scheduled To Deploy

    Gatesville Rodeo Welcomes Troops Scheduled To Deploy

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:17 AM EDT2014-08-01 04:17:46 GMT
    (KCEN)-- It's been going on for 77-years, so it's a big deal when the Gatesville Riding Club Rodeo is in action. Thursdaynight was extra special though. 200 National Guard members for Oregon, training at North Fort Hood for a deployment to Afghanistan, were in attendance. Among them, 22-year-old Specialist Kyle Lipscomb from Medford, OR, who saystonight's rodeo is just another example of warmth he's felt since arriving in Central Texas. “I've gone to other military installations and the publi...More >>
    (KCEN)-- It's been going on for 77-years, so it's a big deal when the Gatesville Riding Club Rodeo is in action. Thursdaynight was extra special though. 200 National Guard members for Oregon, training at North Fort Hood for a deployment to Afghanistan, were in attendance. Among them, 22-year-old Specialist Kyle Lipscomb from Medford, OR, who saystonight's rodeo is just another example of warmth he's felt since arriving in Central Texas. “I've gone to other military installations and the publi...More >>
  • Stuck On Immigration, House GOP Delays August Recess

    Stuck On Immigration, House GOP Delays August Recess

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:07:44 GMT
    Washington (CNN) -- On what was supposed to be the last day before summer recess, dysfunction reigned in Congress. House Republican leaders called off a vote Thursday on their $659 million emergency response to the border influx from Central America overwhelming immigration resources, unable to agree among themselves about what to do. That sparked a revolt in their caucus over doing nothing, which forced GOP leaders to delay the start of August break to discuss the matter further on Friday mo...More >>
    Washington (CNN) -- On what was supposed to be the last day before summer recess, dysfunction reigned in Congress. House Republican leaders called off a vote Thursday on their $659 million emergency response to the border influx from Central America overwhelming immigration resources, unable to agree among themselves about what to do. That sparked a revolt in their caucus over doing nothing, which forced GOP leaders to delay the start of August break to discuss the matter further on Friday mo...More >>
  • New Tailgating Area Outside Of McLane Stadium

    New Tailgating Area Outside Of McLane Stadium

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:55 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:55:37 GMT
    (KCEN) -- Are you ready for some football? Baylor Nation certainly is. Not only will this season be about defending the Big 12 Championship, potential Heisman Trophy candidate, but the opening of the new McLane Stadium and local businesses are trying to create the ultimate tailgating experience.It's called the Brazos Parking and it's going to have food, drinks, and live music, just a stone's throw from the stadium. Parking spaces, 112 tailgate spaces and 32 RV spaces. But the biggest draw is ...More >>
    (KCEN) -- Are you ready for some football? Baylor Nation certainly is. Not only will this season be about defending the Big 12 Championship, potential Heisman Trophy candidate, but the opening of the new McLane Stadium and local businesses are trying to create the ultimate tailgating experience.It's called the Brazos Parking and it's going to have food, drinks, and live music, just a stone's throw from the stadium. Parking spaces, 112 tailgate spaces and 32 RV spaces. But the biggest draw is ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KCEN. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.