OSHA Files Federal Charges In Jacksonville Lab Explosion

Posted on June 18, 2008

Last December 19th, a chemical plant on the Northside of Jacksonville exploded killing four people inside and leveling the facility. 

The ground shook and that brought out every area haz-mat team in response to the “hellish inferno” which sent pieces of the plant as far as a quarter mile away. Smoke and flames could be seen for miles.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, has issued its findings on the T2 Laboratory inferno and also announced the federal violations, citations and penalties that will be issued.  

OSHA blames the explosion on a chemical chamber that overheated. The company is facing five serious violations and a fine of more than $12,000.

The first violations says “the employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

OSHA reports that the plant had problems with its high pressure reactor, which did not receive proper maintenance.

And OSHA says there was no backup water supply for the vessels cooling jacket. The control room was not blast resistant, the report says, exposing employees to hazards and not offering them a way to evacuate.  Another serious violation says the company’;s pressure vessels were not up to code. 

The T2 lab, which makes a gasoline performance additive,  has 15 working days to state whether it plans to contest the charges.

Under Florida law, the business owner has a duty to maintain those premises in a reasonably safe condition for the welfare of all customers and employees.  Farah & Farah covers all aspects of premises liability law and consumers can find their questions answered in the Q and A section of our Web site.

The $12,000 doesn’;t sound like much of a fine when you consider that four lives were lost. But the report opens the door to negligence, and wrongful death charges.  

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