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No OSHA Inspections at Texas Plant in 5 Years: Are We Doing Enough to Protect Workplace Safety?

Business  (tags: Amy Goodman, Mike Elk, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, Occupational Safety and Health Administr, (OSHA), West Fertilizer Co., last inspection 5 years ago, EPA, OSHA understaffed/underfunded, video )

- 2224 days ago -
In the wake of the deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, reporter Mike Elk of In These Times magazine joins us to discuss the plant's safety record and the troubling regulatory environment for workplaces in Texas and nationwide.


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Madhu Pillai (22)
Friday April 19, 2013, 12:28 am

Past Member (0)
Friday April 19, 2013, 6:58 am
With all of Rick Perry's budget cuts and deregulating it makes me wonder how safe any workplace is in Texas.

Kathleen R (138)
Friday April 19, 2013, 12:52 pm

Robert O (12)
Friday April 19, 2013, 1:04 pm
Good posting but very frightening to think about. Thanks Judy.

Beverly M. I agree with you and want to expand that thought to say with so many economic woes and misguided political agendas out there (most of them emanating from the conservative side of the aisle), how safe is any workplace in the entire country?

Judy C (91)
Friday April 19, 2013, 1:18 pm
I come from a working-class, strong union family. My parents and grandparents were able to work their way out of poverty, and into the middle class. The level of respect for workers has plummeted in the past couple of decades, starting in the Reagan administration with the deregulation craze. The disrespect for workers in this country today has hit a new low. As Beverly and Robert point out, these changes have resulted in failure to protect workers, who are treated like interchangeable bodies rather than people. Corporations are people, but workers are not.

Deborah W (6)
Friday April 19, 2013, 1:54 pm
Who oversees the overseers ... and whose paying both groups?

Charles Muehlhof (24)
Friday April 19, 2013, 3:47 pm
Like unions, the decline of OSHA's power began with the election of Ronald Reagan!

Birgit W (160)
Friday April 19, 2013, 4:02 pm

David Johnson (13)
Friday April 19, 2013, 8:34 pm
Noted with great sadness for seeming unecessary loss of life.

reft h (66)
Saturday April 20, 2013, 1:38 am
Corporations don't do what they oughta do willingly... that is one reason to have unions. How unsafe for the workers this place must have been.

Robert Rufa (2)
Saturday April 20, 2013, 5:42 am
Contrary to what conservatives believe, government regulations and oversight of business and industry is vital.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Saturday April 20, 2013, 5:46 am
The rednecks think regulation is big gov. It would have been the difference between life and death.

Lloyd H (46)
Saturday April 20, 2013, 9:38 am
The above liked article is some what deceptive as it makes no distinction between the Texas state OSHA and the Federal OSHA. From "Austerity, Deregulation and the Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion"; The Nation, by Lee Fang 4/18/2013, " the last 5 years...(OSHA) has only inspected five fertilizer plants in the entire state of Texas--and the plant in Wast, Texas was not one of them....With the agencies current resources that means "OSHA can inspect a work place on average once every 129 years and the state OSHA could inspect one every 67 years." The Federal OSHA has not inspected the West, Texas plant in 28 years.
The one thing that seems to get ignored is that the West, Texas "Fertilizer Plant" is not actually a fertilizer plant it is a WWII Explosive Munition Plant. that is what was built for an it exports a military explosive that is also a fertilizer. And it does so because at the end of WWII the US did not want to lose its munitions manufacturing capacity so it began selling for profit the Military Grade Explosive Ammonium Nitrate as a fertilizer. And given the fact that in a gross coincidence on April 16, 1947, almost 66 years to the day before West, right after Ammonium Nitrate began being sold as fertilizer, a ship load docked in Texas City, Texas exploded killing ~800 people including all but one member City Fire Departmant, injured 5,000 , 1,784 hospitalized and leveling nearly the entire city at a cost in todays money of $1.8 Billion, the State of Texas chose to believe the For Profit Company about the safety of the plant.

Judith Hand (55)
Saturday April 20, 2013, 4:37 pm
Noted. What a great article! Helpful and pretty thorough way to convey the issues, tx.

Judy C (91)
Saturday April 20, 2013, 6:25 pm
Thanks to all who have commented!

Lloyd, thanks for all that info. What a horrible history this plant has! It's deplorable that the state didn't place enough value on its people to properly inspect and regulate this facility, as well as others. I'll have to take a look at that article.

Lindell L (0)
Tuesday April 23, 2013, 7:32 am
SOMEONE made the decision not to update that plant. Are THEY not terrorists? More deaths, more damage than was done in Boston. Terrorism for profit shouldn't be treated any differently than terrorism for religious extremism. Especially if "corporations are people," somebody should be facing serious jail time.
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