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No criminal charges filed for refinery explosion

The dangers of being employed as an industrial worker are known to many people in Florida. But that does not stop many from choosing the work and making a career out of it. Factory accidents do happen and many result in injuries and fatalities, leaving families of the deceased mourning. Regulatory agencies from the government are often called in to inspect such incidents and if employers can be held responsible, they will be.

One such accident happened at a refinery in 2008. The facility, located in Georgia, was owned by Imperial Sugar Co., and the incident resulted in the death of more than a dozen workers. According to reports, an explosion occurred at the plant and many agencies were called in to investigate the situation. These included the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Two years after the incident, Imperial was required to pay fines related to safety violations at the refinery as well as at another location that the company owned in Louisiana. Reports indicate that the company paid more than $6 million in fines.

Despite the safety violations reported by investigators, the U.S. Justice Department recently announced that the company will not be charged for its involvement in the explosion. Instead, prosecutors said that misdemeanor charges would be brought against Imperial for violations regarding industrial standards of cleanliness. Reports indicate that there was not enough evidence to prove that the company had lax safety requirements akin to criminal conduct.

Fourteen workers lost their lives in the accident. Friends and families of those workers who lost their lives in the explosion are likely upset by this announcement. Though this is likely the case, there was no report of any civil suits filed against the company because of the incident.

Source: Houston Business Journal, "Imperial Sugar won't be charged for plant explosion," Molly Ryan, Feb. 27, 2013

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