OSHA Cites DuPont in La Porte Fatalities

The four workers who died were exposed to methyl mercaptan gas after one of them opened a drain on a methyl mercaptan vent line, according to OSHA's investigation.

OSHA announced an enforcement action last week against DuPont in connection with the deaths of four workers last November at a facility in La Porte, Texas, saying the company could have prevented it. OSHA cited DuPont for 11 safety violations and identified scores of safety upgrades the company must implement to prevent future accidents at its Lannate/API manufacturing building in La Porte. Workers there manufacture crop protection materials and chemicals.

The workers who died were exposed to methyl mercaptan gas when one of them opened a drain on a methyl mercaptan vent line, according to OSHA's investigation. Two co-workers who attempted to help her were overcome, and fourth co-worker – the brother of one of the fallen men – tried to rescue them and also died.

"Four people lost their lives and their families lost loved ones because DuPont did not have proper safety procedures in place," Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said. "Had the company assessed the dangers involved or trained their employees on what to do if the ventilation system stopped working, they might have had a chance."

Methyl mercaptan, a colorless gas with a strong odor, is used in pesticides, jet fuels, and plastics. DuPont was cited for one repeat, nine serious, and one other than serious violations. The repeat violation was assessed for not training employees on using the building's ventilation system and other safety procedures, because DuPont was also cited for a similar violation in July 2010, according to OSHA, which has proposed $99,000 in penalties

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2022

    July / August 2022

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Specific PPE is Needed for Entry and Exit
    • HAZARD COMMUNICATION
      Three Quick Steps to Better HazCom Training
    • GAS DETECTION
      Building a Chemical Emergency Toolkit
    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      The Last Line of Defense
    View This Issue