Volatile Industries Lack Adequate Safety Standards and Liability Insurance

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Tucked away in the back pages of a news paper in a national section, was a small two paragraph article titled “Texas fertilizer plant insurance: 1 million”. The first paragraph detailed the devastation casualties in the aftermath following the Texas fertilizer plant “West Fertilizer” explosion. The number of people killed as a result of the West Fertilizer explosion listed fourteen. The number of injuries as a result of the West Fertilizer explosion listed two hundred. The estimated dollars in property damage as a result of the West Fertilizer explosion listed “tens of millions”. West Fertilizer had only one million in liability coverage. Allowing an employer to not ensure the safety of its employees, the health of the environment and the safety of the immediate area known to be exposed to destruction in the event of an explosion is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Who lets this happen? Why were they allowed to operate with inadequate insurance coverage? Why were they allowed to operate with inadequate safety standards? Who is accountable for the cost of life, hospital fees, emergency personnel, funerals, property damage, and pollution when there is no adequate funds and insurance coverage?

Every politician that allowed this to happen should be held accountable. Every elected or appointed official that did not oversee or enforce safety standards and adequate insurance should be held accountable along with the owners, board members, executives and management of West Fertilizer.

Wake up call, you bet this is. Every person in every area of the globe should check industry within twenty miles of where they live. Every person in every area of the globe should make an assessment of whether any industry is a risk to them, their environment and submit their findings to agencies that will not persecute them for bringing awareness to public safety concerns. The West Fertilizer plant explosion causality total in lost life, property damage and pollution could have been lessened through better Occupational Health and Safety Administration standards enforced, limitations of physical buildings within a three-mile radius, and Environmental Protection Agency standards enforced.

Texas is one of the states allowed to have its own version of EPA and OSHA, policed by their own local/state agencies. That concept is not working, in Texas or the other states that are allowed to police themselves. Antiquated policies and procedures are past due for review and change. People need oversight not death and destruction. Corporations need to be accountable. State and federal department agencies need to push harder to force safety, financial responsibility and non-pollution. The corporate mentality of profits above all, a numbers game, is a path of destruction financially and environmentally. The evidence to the destruction can be scientifically proven through polluted soil, polluted water, polluted air, the extinction of species, melting glaciers, rising ocean levels, global warming, unprecedented increases in hurricanes, flooding, snow storms, drought, and cancers caused by toxins. The evidence in loss of life due to working accidents is too high especially in supposedly educated countries.

Profits should never be placed above human life, health, safety, or harm to our planet earth and its inhabitants, period.

Carla J Mattingly

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