President Barack Obama issued an executive order August 1 that directed the federal government to work toward improvement of safety and security conditions at chemical plants across the country. The order comes in response to a number of explosions and other accidents at chemical plants.
The executive order mentions the Texas fertilizer plant explosion earlier this year that killed 15 people. The disaster was a stark reminder of the need to boost safety at chemical plants and to address the very serious workplace risks that unsafe chemical storage can pose, it states.
The executive order, however, is only the first step toward improved safety at chemical plants, and critics are calling for additional regulatory action. Recently, the Chemical Safety Board, a federal agency that investigates chemical accidents, criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for its “unacceptable” responses to a number of long-standing board recommendations for new safety rules. The recommendations included covering atmospheric storage tanks that could be a potential risk for catastrophic toxic release.
What’s more, the Occupational Safety and Health and Administration is dealing with funding issues that must be addressed so the agency is better equipped to improve chemical plant safety.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned. Contact us if you have been injured on the job and need legal advice about your right to compensation.