Safety and OSHA News

Imperial Sugar workers had little emergency exit training

A federal investigation appears to show that Imperial Sugar Co. didn’t train many workers at its Port Wentworth plant about how to escape during an emergency.

Explosions at the plant killed 14 people and injured many more.

Interviews conducted by OSHA with plant workers uncovered the alleged lack of training, according to The Savannah Morning News.

OSHA is seeking $8.8 million in fines for alleged safety violations at two Imperial plants. Imperial is appealing.

About 40 workers said they didn’t receive training on how to get out of the building in an emergency. Only about 30 people said they were shown how to leave.

Just 5 people ever recalled a fire drill at the plant.

Former corporate safety manager Michael Lastie said in a sworn statement that the company lacked a document that “clearly spelled out … the roles and responsibilities of the first responder team.”

Creating such a document was a recommendation made to the company after a 2004 safety evaluation.

Imperial also faces lawsuits from victims’ families.

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  1. Fire drills are important in that they help employees keep a clear head when having to leave a building during an emergency. It takes maybe 30 minutes out of your day twice a year. Hardly an imposition on the company, and frequently the employees actually enjoy doing the fire drills because they get the opportunity to stretch their legs and visit with co-workers who work on a different floor than them.

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