Pasadena, Texas Chemical Plant Explosion Leaves 1 Dead, 2 Injured
At about 12:45 p.m. on January 26, there was a deadly explosion at the PeroxyChem chemical plant in Pasadena, Texas that left one worker dead and three others injured. According to the Pasadena Police Department, the explosion happened when a tank containing nearly 1,000 gallons of a petroleum-based cleaning solution spilled during what was described by the company as a “routine function.” Apparently, the chemical came in contact with a piece of equipment and that equipment exploded.
When first responders arrived, two employees of PeroxyChem and one employee for the contractor were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. Two were treated for chemical exposure, while the other suffered a broken arm. One employee of the contractor, 62-year-old Ricky Giddens, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Unfortunately, these types of chemical explosions are too common at chemical plants in the Houston area. According to at least one source, the PeroxyChem tragedy from this past Saturday is the 10th such explosion to happen since the tragic DuPont explosions, which happened about 14 months ago.
According to various reports, Pennsylvania-based PeroxyChem apparently places a strong emphasis on safety. In fact, the Pasadena site houses a special group of safety experts that provide “technical expertise” to all of the company’s four plants in North America. The company’s primary product is hydrogen peroxide, which is a common household chemical that, in small concentrations, serves as an antiseptic, as well as a whitening agent in hair dyes and toothpaste. In high concentrations, however, it is highly toxic, can lead to serious burns and will explode at high temperatures, so it is necessary to handle it with care.
While this is the worst incident at PeroxyChem’s Pasadena plant in recent years, it is not the first. In February 2015, a control room at the plant caught fire. In that incident, the company was able to get the fire under control before emergency personnel arrived. The company has also said there were a number of “recordable incidents” in 2014, although none were considered serious or life-threatening.
Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were at the site Sunday to inspect the plant for workplace safety violations. According to available records, it is the first time the agency has visited the plant in about a decade. The last inspection of the plant by federal authorities was an inspection by the Environmental Protection Agency in December 2014, to make sure the plant was in compliance with all Clean Air Act provisions.
All employers have a duty to keep workers safe while they are doing their job, even when there has been no visit by federal safety officials in more than 10 years. A thorough investigation will have to be conducted from a number of angles. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident at a chemical plant in Texas, contact the Hill Law Firm immediately, so that we can begin an investigation and help you get compensation for your losses. We have the experience and skill to go after even the biggest companies.