Comments about ‘Plant explosion leaves many seeking answers’

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Published: Thursday, April 18 2013 10:26 p.m. MDT

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The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Gee. What a surprise. This company had been cited multiple times for cutting corners. So was it worth it? Time to put them out of business. Companies need to learn to stop cutting corners. Punish them just like BP.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

If OSHA hadn't cited them since 1985 for a minor violation when the process safety management standard came into being in 1992 with several years given for full implementation, it seems like Federal OSHA should have been in there prior to now. Petroleum refineries are high emphasis items as they get the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) since they are big companies who want to be patted on the back. Federal OSHA gives out more as it is a positive program but requires more diligence. Since the Oklahoma bombing, it seems like there would be more scrutiny of fertilizer plants for security and people getting access to plant operations.

Grain elevators or storage tanks can have explosions too, depending on the cleanliness and explosive dust that can collect.

BP is a big company but their board and operating officers look at financial aspects and not necessarily the safety and health requirements for the protection of their workers. Financial concerns since the 2007-2008 timeframe have probably stretched companies that try to stay in business when the EPA is trying to stop farms from using manufactured fertilizer. They want to use organic when greenhouse gasses are blamed on cows that gas.

Obama10
SYRACUSE, UT

@ The Real Maverick I wish you would get your facts straight. Frankly, it is too early to know exactly what went on, so please withhold your righteous indignation. Anyone who has ever dealt with OSHA knows that if they inspect your facility, they will find something wrong, no matter how minor. They have to justify their jobs as well. I know the LDS meat packing plant was also cited by OSHA for "minor violations". Should we put them out of business as well? Was the LDS church trying to "cut corners"? Sometimes accidents happen and in this case it was a terrible tragedy.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Federal OSHA may or may not have needed to be inspect this plant and ensure compliance with safety regulations regarding fertilizer.

But it's not hard to imagine that OSHA, the EPA or any other federal agency having a hard time getting any kind of positive response or cooperation in Texas.

Isn't one of the most common refrains we hear on this board, in Utah, in Texas and many other places that the federal government is *the* problem, with pretty much everything?

For example, how effectively can you do your job if you're a BLM employee in Kane County, Utah? You've been identified as the enemy, the adversary, by elected officials.

In Texas we're heard rarely anything but invective from Governor Perry about anything to do with the federal government. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a federal OSHA inspector in Texas might as well be an agent for the Soviet Union, in terms of any kind of cooperation or meaningful engagement from local companies.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

There is a big difference for chemical processing than meat processing. There are a lot more rules as chemicals cause reactions that can be very disastrous in seconds or minutes after the reaction starts. It is too late then to think about the corners a chemical and petroleum manufacturer did through their engineering and process safety management actions or in actions. Meat packing has to do with hygiene, cuts and actions of the individual in most cases, not a catastrophic action or reaction.

It may be too early to know the root cause and with fatalities. However, if there were engineering designs and instrumentation of the processes that would facilitate the fire investigation and explosion which may not be part of what caused the problem in the first place. With all the various Texas and Federal agencies, boards, and local fire agencies involved, with the various areas of expertise, they will eventually determine what went wrong. Hopefully, the other fertilizer manufacturers and associations will improve their processes due to this problem.

Accidents can happen but for chemical processes there are indications that alert someone along the way and then to have a plan to deal with the situation.

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