OSHA investigating tank explosion

Workers in the area evacuated their job sites immediately following the explosion.
Workers in the area evacuated their job sites immediately following the explosion.(Theresa Schmidt kplc)
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:40 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - When an industrial accident like Wednesday morning’s explosion at Westlake Chemical’s south plant happens, actions are required by the plant as well as regulating agencies.

State Police Sgt. James Anderson said it appears plant officials followed notification requirements.

“After any event like this we’re going to look at everything,” Anderson said. “There will be an after-action report as well as an investigation conducted by our emergency services unit. Our initial indication is plant officials did everything they were asked to do.”

Greg Langley, with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, agrees. Langley says DEQ records refer to the plant as Eagle U.S. 2.

He says the explosion destroyed the residual chemical - ethylene dichloride - that was in the tank.

“When we entered the area, there was no fire, no product and basically no tank because it basically was destroyed in the explosion,” Langley said.

He says as a precaution DEQ monitored the air into the afternoon.

“We did some air monitoring and the company did some air monitoring as well,” Langley said. “We got non detects for everything.”

OSHA confirms they are investigating. The agency looks at such incidents to help make job sites safer.

In this case, one worker was treated on site and five others were sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A plant official said the nature of the workers injuries was abrasions and such stemming from the tank explosion, as opposed to chemical exposure or breathing problems.

Copyright 2022 KPLC. All rights reserved.