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Saturday, October 19, 2013

How OSHA’s West Fertilizer fine stacks up against others

Today's post was shared by FairWarning and comes from watchdogblog.dallasnews.com


After the Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed $118,300 in fines last week for West Fertilizer and its owner Adair Grain, The Dallas Morning News wanted to see how that fine compared to other OSHA fines. We analyzed the agency’s 56,800 fatality/catastrophe inspections since 2001.

When OSHA found wrongdoing and decided to fine a company, it proposed an average fine of $12,836 before any negotiations or appeals. The agency actually collected an average of $6,010.

Many of the top 25 fines in OSHA’s history are large industrial explosions, usually resulting in multiple deaths, which may be a better comparison to West than the general average. The West explosion, which killed 15 people and injured 300, however, is nowhere close to OSHA’s five largest fines:

1. 2005 BP Texas City explosion, killed 15, injured 170: $84 million in proposed fines
2. 2010 Connecticut power plant explosion, killed six, injured 50: $16.6 million in total proposed fines
3. 1991 IMC Fertilizer/Angus Chemical explosion, killed eight, injured 120: $11.5 million in proposed fines
4. 2008 Imperial Sugar explosion, killed 13, hospitalized 40: $8.8 million in proposed fines
5. 1995 Samsung Guam employee fell from high elevation, killed one: $8.3 million in proposed fines

In fact, OSHA fined West Fertilizer 70 percent of the maximum allowed by law for the number and severity of violations alleged, $118,300 out of a maximum $168,000 fine.
OSHA cited West Fertilizer...
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