On Saturday, four workers at a DuPont plant in La Porte, Texas (an industrial suburb outside of Houston) tragically lost their lives and a fifth has been hospitalized after a deadly chemical release.
The workers, who were believed to be assigned to the unit where the leak occurred, were exposed to methyl mercaptan. This hazardous gas is used in the manufacture of an insecticide that kills insects, ticks, and mites on vegetables, fruit, and poultry.
Teams from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the United States Chemical Safety Board are currently investigating the cause of the incident. It is unknown at this time whether the chemical release was the result of human error, equipment failure, or some other reason. However, this information should be learned during the investigation.
The leak occurred around 4 a.m. Saturday and was contained about 2 hours later. Despite the fact that the stench of the chemicals spread across La Porte, plant officials have advised local residents that the substance does not pose any danger. Also, air samples taken by the EPA do not show elevated levels of the chemical beyond the plant.
DuPont’s La Porte plant employs 600 workers and spans 800 acres. The facility produces pesticides, refrigerants, and plastics.
Deadly Chemical Release Illustrates Dangers Faced by Industrial Workers
Even though this decrease is encouraging, the La Porte incident highlights the dangers that industrial workers, like those working at DuPont’s facility, face on a daily basis.
As one commentator familiar with DuPont’s plant noted:
“We go through the day and try not to get paper cuts and slam the door on our hand. These folks are dealing with pumps and valves and boilers that if any one of them has an issue, it can turn into a fatal issue very, very quickly.”
These risks, while high, can be reduced with proper training and proper equipment to protect workers.
New Orleans Industrial Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a plant, refinery, or other industrial accident, The Mahone Firm is here to help. Call a New Orleans personal injury attorney at (504) 564-7342 so we can talk about what happened and get you the help you need.