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Bar chart of years needed for OSHA to inspect all jobsites, ranging from 30 years for Oregon to 288 years for South Dakota.

Click to enlarge, then look for Louisiana way over at the left, in black.

An explosion and fire at a Louisiana chemical plant Thursday killed one and injured many more, with 73 sent to area hospitals, according to reports.

State police said the fire had been extinguished on Thursday afternoon. A state police Hazmat unit continued a controlled burn. The cause of the fire remained undetermined, said Slaton.

The plant is located in Geismar, La., about 60 miles northwest of New Orleans and 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge. The area was described by officials as unincorporated and largely industrial.

“We’re continuing to do a head count for every single person who was on site,” state police Capt. Doug Cain told WVLA. “Hazmat crews are now going on ground at the site to see what remains.”

Some context as we wait to learn more:
  • The workplace fatality rate in Louisiana is 6.3 per 100,000 workers. For the nation as a whole, it is 3.5 per 100,000 workers.
  • Louisiana is one of seven states where it would take the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 150 years or more to visit every workplace once.
  • Louisiana is one of seven states where there are more than 100,000 workers for every OSHA inspector.

Accidents happen and no state has a perfect workplace safety record. But some of them have really bad records, Louisiana among them.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Louisiana Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am surprised (3+ / 0-)

    that this hasn't already been made a diary. Thank you for doing so!

    Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by hopeful on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:06:58 PM PDT

  •  Many years ago (5+ / 0-)

    I had to do an emergency due diligence with my pesticide buddy because a big assed law firm forgot to do it.  Soooo, we got paid premium bucks to head to NOLA on Decadence Weekend (yipppeeee!!!!!)  It was the year before Katrina and just before another hurricane ("I" name).

    We expected a hell hole of a facility.  It was brilliant.  Best records we've ever seen.  Over reported any problems with their products.  Small operation with competent people.  They had respect for their business -- ergo, the reason someone else wanted to buy them up, gut them after sucking out the $$.  I see that it is closed.  Sad.  Good people.

    My thoughts and prayers for all those injured and killed.  Too soon to know the reason of this explosion since the facility was dealing with highly flammable materials.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:14:27 PM PDT

  •  Oof. Right outside of Gonzales, LA. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, Aunt Pat

    A bigger explosion could have hurt a lot more people.  Thankfully there's an airport between the industrial area and most of the population, but still.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:15:45 PM PDT

  •  Try to research these plants someday and you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    could be discovered and labeled an "econ terrorist".

  •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball
    The workplace fatality rate in Louisiana is 6.3 per 100,000 workers. For the nation as a whole, it is 3.5 per 100,000 workers.
    Accidents happen and no state has a perfect workplace safety record. But some of them have really bad records, Louisiana among them.
    Because having a 99.9937% chance of not dying at work is really something to worry about...
  •  Williams Olefins (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    is one of a dozen Louisiana chemical companies planning a total of about $80 billion in plant expansions, mainly to utilize the chemical byproducts of fracking for natural gas, ethane, light ends, natural gasoline, etc.

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:48:51 PM PDT

  •  Explosions help to decrease (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    the surplus population. It's nobody the Important People care about.

    /snark

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:51:10 PM PDT

  •  If only there was some way to inspect... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    If only we could think of a way to organize ourselves as a society and collectively contribute to a central agency of management that would then monitor such places for public safety and standards to ensure a proper balance between the profit motive of private industry and the public good.

    Of course that would be socialmafasinazism, so we can't do that.

  •  I see California has a worse rate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    Of inspection despite its business unfriendly reputation. Does their death rate follow the same trend?  Or do death rates correlate better with some other index?

  •  Lying with statistics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    In Louisiana in 2010, 24 out of about 100 were related to highway deaths.  Only 15 were related to explosions.  In New York City, out of the 71 deaths, 24 were related to violence, 16 homicides.  So yes, explosions are an issue in Louisiana, but not the premeditated death that awaits workers in New York.  I would like to also compare California, but there is no data at the bureau of labor statistics. Nationally transportation incidents seem to be the biggest issues.

  •  How many work sites are still there for 150 years? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    A few capitol buildings, some churches, and probably some other monumental sites, maybe.  A church or a museum might last that long, and might be doing the same type of work for 150 years, but that's partly because the work is so low-risk.  How many mines, refineries, or factories are still there for 150 years?  And how many times over their working life are places like that going to have the workplace hazards change as technology changes?

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 02:29:46 PM PDT

  •  Because people don't matter (0+ / 0-)
    Accidents happen and no state has a perfect workplace safety record. But some of them have really bad records, Louisiana among them.
    This is the "let them die" approach of your compassionate conservatism. They should feel lucky to even have a job.

    Think of the hundreds of jobs that could be filled just in OSHA alone.

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 03:07:41 PM PDT

  •  To paraphrase Breaker Morant: "This is what comes (0+ / 0-)

    of OSHA oversight weakening."

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 03:19:54 PM PDT

  •  Louisiana is so strange a place it seems surreal (0+ / 0-)

    is it just me.  Really 150 years needed to inspect all work sites, God, that's surreal.

    •  No, it is not just you... (0+ / 0-)

      I spent some time in La. a number of years ago. I too thought it had surreal aspects.

      La. is like a Third World country grafted on to the USA. This is not meant as an insult to the people there, but the culture is different. Some of this comes from it's history as French colony but it runs deeper than just that....  

  •  Wait, don't tell me... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the Republican governor wants FEMA to pick up the bill for cleanup and reconstruction.

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