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Police Join in Donaldsonville Plant Explosion Investigation

Posted By Arnold & Itkin LLP || 17-Jun-2013

The Donaldsonville plant explosion in Louisiana plant explosion killed one worker over the weekend, and was noted to be the second fatal plant explosion in the state this week. Now, state police are joining federal officials in an investigation about the plant explosion and will try to figure out why the accident occurred.

All authorities are waiting until it is safe at the plant before they enter the area to probe for the cause of the blast. The police's hazardous materials vehicles and teams have already entered the plant to diminish the possibility of dangerous fumes in the area. Once they declare that the area is safe, the OSHA and company officials will enter. Officials say that there are no hazardous materials on-site.

The CF Industries facility says that they are sad to lose a valuable employee after a 55-year-old man was killed in the blast. They have also identified four workers that were injured in the accident, and three contractor employees that were treated for injuries. One employee is still in the hospital in stable condition but the other CF workers have already been released.

CF Industries is a plant that is responsible for manufacturing ammonia and other nitrogen fertilizers. The vice president of the plant who also acts as general manager says that the incident involved a rupture of a header when nitrogen was being taken off of a tank truck. The CF officials say that there was not a fire after the explosion, and that there was no chemical release that could affect locals.

They also say that everything is secure at the plant and there shouldn't be subsequent explosions. The explosion happened in an area of the plant that had already been ship down for maintenance. Officials suspect that the explosion may have happened due to over-pressurization, but they are not certain. This particular plant produces about 5 million tons of nitrogen for agricultural and industrial uses annually, and is only a few miles away from the Geismar petrochemical plant where a large explosion occurred on Thursday.

This plant also produces ammonia and other nitrogen fertilizers, but plant authorities say that there was no ammonia at the plant when the explosion took place. This is a large relief to locals around the plant, who may have suffered deteriorating health from ammonia exposure. Investigators have discovered that the Donaldsonville plant has experienced explosions in the past. In the year 2000, three workers were killed and another nine were injured in an explosion and fire at the facility.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the plant $150,000 for negligence associated with the explosion and CF Industries was cited for 13 safety and health violations. OSHA reported that 12 of the 14 violations were serious. If you have been injured in a chemical plant explosion, you may want to seek compensation for any medical bills and hold the plant accountable for any negligence.

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