U.S. levies $118,300 in fines for Texas fertilizer blast -senator
WASHINGTON Oct 10 (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have levied fines of $118,300 against a fertilizer company for 24 safety violations related to the deadly plant explosion in the central Texas town of West in April, Senator Barbara Boxer said on Thursday.
Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, said she had been briefed on the outcome of an Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) investigation into the blast.
A fire and resulting ammonium nitrate fertilizer explosion at the West Fertilizer Co plant on April 17 killed 15 people, injured more than 160, and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes, businesses and public buildings in the community north of Waco.
Violations by West Fertilizer cited by OSHA ranged from unsafe handling and storage of anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate, to failure to have appropriate fire extinguishers on hand.
About 90 percent of employees at OSHA, the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation, are currently furloughed by the U.S. government shutdown. (Reporting by Ros Krasny; editing by Jim Marshall)