August 13 - August 17, 2018

Officials from chemical company Arkema were recently indicted over explosions that occurred at a Texas plant during Hurricane Harvey last year. Should the company face charges over an incident brought on by such extreme conditions?

Answers Votes
No. The area got nearly 50 inches of rain in a matter of a few days; it's impossible to safeguard against conditions so out of the ordinary. 68%
Yes. The company should have had more safeguards in place to prevent such extreme damage from a single mode of failure (flooding). 26%
Other (please explain in the comments section). 6%

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Tagged categories: Accidents; Coatings raw materials manufacturers; Health & Safety; Health and safety

Comment from Steve Brunner, (8/13/2018, 8:35 AM)

This should be a case by case evaluation. I understand Arkema had a plan in place but failed to cover 100 - 500 year flood. Maps for a 100 - 500 year flood are outdated and in need of revision. As far as the incident is concerned it appears to have been handled properly for the given conditions. So, in this case there should be no indictment.

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (8/13/2018, 11:30 AM)

I have to agree, Steve. I don't know of any jurisdictions using a 1:500 yr design for flooding and if the 1:100 yr map changed after construction, there will be limits to how much additional Arkema could do. Still, Arkema will need to prove that they did everything reasonably foreseeable on this one as part of a due diligence defense. The 50" of water in just a few days is extraordinary and I don't know of many homes or businesses that have contingencies for such an extreme event.

Comment from Norman Fisher, (8/13/2018, 2:08 PM)

I agree with both Mr. Brunner and Mr. Halliwell. If they followed existing regulations, had a reasonable plan in place and followed that plan to the best of their ability given the circumstances then no, nobody should be indicted.

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