Texas Petroleum Chemical (TPC Group) – a Houston-based petrochemical manufacturer and owner of a Port Neches industrial plant where a series of explosions in November 2019 resulted in the evacuation of over 60,000 residents – has been cited by OSHA for workplace safety violations.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, regulators began investigating TPC after vapor formed at the base of a butadiene finishing tower at its facility in Port Neches ignited and caused a series of explosions and fires that rocked local communities for miles.
As reported by the Beaumont Enterprise, TPC was cited for three willful violations – the most serious citation classification – over failures to develop and implement emergency shutdown procedures, and nine serious violations for various issues including failures to inspect and test process vessel and piping components.
TPC faces $514,692 in fines, and has 15 business days from the date of the citation to comply or request an informal conference with an OSHA regulators.
OSHA citations may be the most recent enforcement action to hit TPC, but they are not the only legal woes the company faces.
As we’ve reported on our blog, TPC Group was recently sued by the Texas Attorney General over environmental violations that contributed to the Port Neches explosions. The lawsuit claims TPC violated the Texas Clean Air Act and the Texas Water Code with harmful emissions, as well as contamination of the Star Lake Canal and other water sources.
In addition to regulatory actions, TPC may face additional blowback from local residents frustrated with the company’s failures to timely compensate them for losses caused by the explosions, which scattered debris across the local community, causing damage to homes and businesses.
While investigations are still ongoing, local residents and experts are also concerned about the risks of toxic exposure related to the release of pressurized Butadiene gas, as well as blast debris from the facility which investigators have confirmed contained asbestos.
BCH Partner Aaron Heckaman – who himself has deep ties to the community and family affected by the explosions and fires – has been speaking openly to fellow residents since November.
He has also advised homeowners and business owners to be wary of solicitations from TPC insurance representatives pushing insurance waivers that may limit their legal options to file lawsuits over damages they incurred, or seek compensation for illnesses that may arise as a result of toxic exposure.
As a Houston-based law firm experienced in fighting back against corporations that put profits over people and matters of toxic torts, industrial explosions, and asbestos litigation, Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC is available to help local residents affected by the Port Neches November explosions.
Our team is actively reviewing potential claims, and is available to discuss your rights and legal options during a free consultation. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.