Speaking before a Senate committee, U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso confirmed that the deaths of the 4 workers at the DuPont chemical plant in La Porte, Texas were the result of broken plant equipment and lax safety practices. A clogged pipe from the methyl mercaptan, a key ingredient in pesticides, caused the deadly chemical to enter vents designed to carry waste gases. The CSB added that instead of depositing the toxic gases into a closed system, the unit’s ventilation system leaked 23,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan into the building.
Prior to the deadly leak, workers at the DuPont facility reported persistent maintenance problems and frequently complained about the inadequate ventilation in the unit. When the deadly chemical leaked from the faulty unit, the now-deceased workers were in an enclosed building with broken ventilation fans that needed to be replaced. The CSB also noted that while the La Porte facility did have respirators, the workers were not required to use them while performing dangerous tasks.
Unfortunately, the chemical leak from the DuPont La Porte facility is far from an isolated event. According to Chemical Safety Board officials, over the past five years at least 28 safety related accidents have occurred in similar facilities resulting in over 75 deaths, multiple injuries, and devastating consequences for work places and the surrounding communities.
If you or someone you know may have been injured in a workplace accident or exposed to a toxic chemical, such as methyl mercaptan, it is important to understand your right to recover. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884 to learn about your rights.