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US chemical company makes 20% of staff at Texas plant redundant following fatal blast

16 May 2019

On May 15, US chemical company KMCO said it would lay off 35 of the almost 200 employees at its plant at Crosby in Texas. On April 2, an explosion at the plant killed one worker and injured several others. KMCO said the fire was sparked by isobutylene and then fuelled by ethanol and ethyl acrylate. 

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

A transfer line ignited and a tank caught fire, which spread to a nearby building that contained dry chemicals, according to local media source KPRC.

The company released this statement:

"After completing a careful and in-depth evaluation, the company made the difficult decision this week to restructure our workforce to better align with our ongoing business and future growth opportunities. This decision was painful but necessary to achieve our long-term strategic goals. The company is grateful for the contributions made by each of the affected employees and we wish them the best in their future endeavors."

According to the Houston Chronicle, injured contractors who were working at the plant are suing KMCO, claiming company officials knew about a leak before the explosion.

KMCO is a subsidiary of Owner Resource Group, an Austin private investment that acquired the company in 2015. The Crosby facility produces coolant and brake fluid for the automotive industry and chemicals for the oilfield industry.

The Crosby plant has a long history of fines and lawsuits from environmental and safety violations, including past incidents of workplace injuries, the Chronicle said.


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