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...