DuPont Hosts 2017 Annual Meeting Today

It's an important event for the company, which expects to close on its proposed merger with Dow Chemical later this year. A stockholder proposal this year asked shareholders to require the board to report by next year's meeting on steps DuPont has taken to reduce the risk of accidents.

DuPont is holding its 2017 annual meeting on May 24 in Wilmington, Del. Beyond the normal items about electing directors and an advisory vote on the company's executive compensation, there is a stockholder proposal on this year's proxy asking shareholders to require the board to report by next year's meeting on steps DuPont has taken to reduce accidents.

The meeting is also important because DuPont is trying to complete a merger with Dow Chemical. The company has said it expects the merger to close between Aug. 1 and Sept. 1, 2017.

The measure was submitted by the United Steelworkers union. It cites the November 2015 incident at a DuPont Crop Protection unit in LaPorte, Texas, where methyl mercaptan leaked and four workers were killed. The measure also cites two other fatal incidents in 2010 in Belle, W.Va., and Buffalo, N.Y.

OSHA placed DuPont in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after an inspection was expanded following the La Porte incident, which occurred when a worker was overcome at the chemical manufacturing facility as a supply line unexpectedly released more than 20,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan, a colorless, toxic gas. Three co-workers then came to try to save the worker, but in the process all four were asphyxiated by the gas.

The measure, Proposal 6 on the proxy, says from January 2010 through June 2015, DuPont received "nearly $850,000 in initial OSHA fines for 97 violations -- most categorized as 'Serious,' with a number listed as 'Willful' and 'Repeat.'"

OSHA's second investigation at LaPorte resulted in three willful, one repeat, and four serious violations in connection with DuPont's chemical manufacturing plant there.

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