Confined Space
News and Commentary on Workplace Health & Safety, Labor and Politics

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Workplace Deaths: For The World To See

The billboard pictured below went up at the corner of Texas Ave and 33rd street in Texas City, Texas the other day -- approximately one block from the main entrance of the BP Texas City refinery where 15 workers were killed and 170 injured on March 23, 2005.

But Raymundo C. Gonzalez, Jr. and Leonard Maurice Moore, Jr. didn't die in that explosion. They died from burns from 500 degree water and steam after a pipe broke at the refinery on September 2, 2004, around six months before the larger blast. The billboard was paid for by Gonzalez's daughter Katherine Rodriguez who writes at the USMWF (United Support & Memorial For Workplace Fatalities) website
"I am just now getting to the point where I have the energy to help fight the cause. My Father was hurt along with a fellow co-worker at the BP Texas City plant, just six months before the March 23 explosion that killed 15 contract workers. They were hurt on September 2, 2004. His co-worker passed away September 3, and my Father on November 12. I hold the date of their deaths as family days. Those are the days that we honor them as a family, however the date of the accident is the date that I want everyone in our community to be reminded of for years to come."
Check out the USMWF "Billboard Watch" site for more information.

BP was later cited and fined over $100,000 by OSHA for the deaths, including a willful citation for violating the lockout-tagout standard which requres all hazardous energy sources to be controlled.


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