[Marxism] United States: Deadly fertiliser blast a corporate-made catastrophe

Stuart Munckton stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Tue Apr 30 00:45:14 MDT 2013

Many of the details are yet to be revealed, but it seems clear that the
owners and operators of West Fertilizer Co were gambling with workers'
lives -- and the government agencies charged with oversight at such
facilities were nowhere to be found.

Two years ago, management at West Fertilizer told the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) that there was no "major risk" of a fire or
explosion due to ammonia stored at the plant.

As part of a risk-management plan filed with the EPA, West Fertilizer said
the biggest risk would be an ammonia leak. The company acknowledged that it
had no alarms, no sprinklers, no automatic shut-off valves and no firewall
to isolate stockpiles of highly combustible materials from a fire that
started elsewhere.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last inspected the
facility in 1985, but an OSHA spokesperson said the company did not qualify
for targeted inspections. This was despite receiving seven violation
notices, five of them serious, in 1985.

Those citations included mishandling anhydrous ammonia and improper
respiratory equipment for workers.
"Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is humanity's
original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made,
through disobedience and through rebellion." -- Oscar Wilde, Soul of Man
Under Socialism

"The free market is perfectly natural... do you think I am some kind of
dummy?" -- Jarvis Cocker

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