OSHA cites DuPont for deadly chemical leak at La Porte plant

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited chemical manufacturer DuPont for a chemical leak that killed four workers in La Porte last year.

OSHA on Thursday cited DuPont for 11 safety violations, fined the company $99,000 and mandated the company make several safety upgrades to its Lannate/API manufacturing building in La Porte. In November, about 23,000 pounds of a flammable toxic chemical called Methyl mercaptan escaped in the DuPont building.

"Four people lost their lives and their families lost loved ones because DuPont did not have proper safety procedures in place," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Had the company assessed the dangers involved, or trained their employees on what to do if the ventilation system stopped working, they might have had a chance."

In response to the report, DuPont issued the following statement:

    "Since the November 15th tragic accident at La Porte, DuPont has taken a series of actions to prevent this from ever happening again.

    In the Lannate unit, we are conducting completely new process hazards analyses, acting on findings from our own investigation, and the unit will not restart until this work is complete. Additionally, as part of our commitment to the highest standards of safety, health and the environment, we are also conducting a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of our Process Safety Management systems.

    The company also continues to cooperate with federal and state authorities, as they complete their investigations, including OSHA. We are reviewing the OSHA findings.

    Safety is a core value and constant priority at DuPont. Our response to this tragedy reinforces our absolute focus on safety and enables us to learn from it so that we can find ways to be an even better company."