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Florida Fertilizer Industry Paying Close Attention To Texas Fertilizer Plant Disaster

Posted on April 24, 2013

It may have happened several states away, but the massive fertilizer explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas has the Florida fertilizer industry watching and waiting to see what went wrong.

So far, the explosion has claimed 14 lives, and authorities are still digging through the rubble of the devastated town of West, Texas trying to find survivors and bodies in the aftermath of the horrific industrial accident.

The president of the Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association in Lakeland told the Palm Beach Post that although nothing remotely close to what happened in Texas has happened in Florida, the industry is keeping a watchful eye on the investigation to learn what happened.

The Palm Beach Post reports that in the last 15 years a fertilizer plant was damaged in a fire in Fort Pierce and another plant in Frostproof burned to the ground. There were no explosions in either of those fires. Experts cite that the fertilizer plants in Florida don’t deal with anhydrous ammonia, which is sometimes injected into soil in colder climates. Anhydrous ammonia is suspected as a catalyst in the Texas blast.

Safety advocates are pushing for the U.S. government to crack down on facilities that manufacture or store hazardous chemicals. They point out that the Adair Grain Inc.’s West Fertilizer Co. facility was last inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1985. However, the company had been cited for safety violations by other federal and state agencies over the past several years.

In 2001, a similar blast at a fertilizer plant in Toulouse, France injured 2,000 and killed 31 people.

Our hearts go out to the families of those killed and to those who lost their homes and were injured in this terrible industrial accident. No matter how big or small a business, it is essential that safety take precedence over all other considerations. The workplace accident attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville can answer questions you may have concerning your legal options following an industrial accident.  Call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online for a free, review of your case.