Fines, prison and arrests for irresponsible industrial CEOs and Execs

The latest issue of HazardEx (www.hazardexonthenet.net/) features two stories where company executives are being held responsible for continuing to run their operations despite known safety problems, endangering the plant, their personnel, and the public.

The former president and CEO of US oil company Custom Carbon Processing (CCP) has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $50,000 for his role in a 2012 explosion that injured three workers at the company’s oil processing plant in Wibaux, Montana. Peter Margiotta was found guilty (last September) of an indictment that included conspiracy under the US Clean Air Act – general duty, and Clean Air Act – knowing endangerment, that resulted in three employees being injured. CCP was constructing the Michels Disposal Well and Oil Reclamation Facility, and Margiotta directed the opening of the plant before implementing appropriate electrical wiring, ventilation and other safety measures. He was warned by the project manager that the action ran the risk of killing not only the operators but also the plant customers.

In India, a gas leak of styrene from LG Polymers, a subsidiary of the South Korean firm LG Chem, in May 2020 killed 11 people and affected over 1000 others. An enquiry has already found a distinct lack of safety measures – even the warning siren facility installed on the plant was not functioning at the time of the leak. The plant was found to have improperly designed storage tanks, and poor maintenance: the storage tank temperature had risen to six times its allowed level over several days in April, but this had been ignored. On July 8th the Indian authorities arrested 12 LG Polymers officials, including its South Korean Chief Executive, on charges of culpable homicide, negligent handling of poisonous substances, and causing hurt and/or endangerment to public life, which could lead to prison terms of up to 8 years.

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