Gibson plant explosion raises questions about plant safety concerns

Gibson plant explosion raises questions about plant safety safety concerns
Published: Oct. 10, 2015 at 12:45 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2015 at 4:24 AM CDT
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GIBSON, LA (WAFB) - The explosion that rocked a Williams Partners' natural gas facility in Gibson on Thursday raised old questions about safety within the Williams company as a whole.

Two years ago, an explosion at their Geismar facility killed two workers and injured more than 100 others.

A Houston attorney who represents 90 of the victims in that accident says that the company has a very sloppy safety record.

"Williams, historically, has not had a very strong system in place compared to a lot of other major operators," said Attorney Kurt Arnold.

Thursday's deadly incident happened as the workers were performing maintenance on what's called a slug catcher.

Williams President and CEO Alan Armstrong said in a statement that he was saddened by what happened and that the company says safety is a priority. But, others say that couldn't be further from the truth. For instance, Kurt Arnold points to the explosion in 2013 and says it could have been avoided.

"The actual thing that caused the explosion was identified years in advance they just ignored it," says Arnold. "It wasn't a case of negligence or something happens and it was unfortunate it was intentionally ignored and ultimately it caught up with them."

One worker caught in the blast is still in a Baton Rouge hospital, and the others are being treated at other locations.

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