Omega Protein appeals OSHA citation involving deadly blast

Omega Protein appeals OSHA citation involving deadly blast
(Photo source:WLOX)
(Photo source:WLOX)

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - The attorney representing three of the workers who were reportedly involved in last year's Omega Protein explosion in Moss Point says he's moving closer to slapping the plant with a lawsuit.

This update comes at the same time the company has decided to appeal some of the findings in a January citation report from OSHA for the incident. Attorney Jesse Mitchell sat down Patrice Clark to give an update on his clients' condition, and why he continues this fight against Omega Protein.

When WLOX sat down with Attorney Jesse Mitchell and two of the subcontractors injured the Omega Protein deadly blast in July of last year, they were in tears. They described the day a tank they were working on exploded, killing a coworker. Eight months later, Mitchell claims his clients are still dealing with scars from that day.

"The physical injuries are one thing, but in what we do, the mental aspect is something that is usually lasting, devastating and hard for them to overcome. Trying to get them back to normal, they will never see normal again," said Mitchell about his clients.

OSHA has since released a report that said it uncovered that two temporary workers hired to cut and weld pipes had no idea what they were doing and no training to let them know that the storage tank beneath them contained explosive gases. The safety organization issued Omega Protein 13 citations. It also proposed that the Moss Point Plant and three other companies pay thousands of dollars in fines for violating safety laws.

"This is validation, confirmation for us," Mitchell said about the OSHA report.

Omega Protein's Public Affairs director Ben Landry said the company has reviewed OSHA's report, but does not agree with a number of the conclusions in it, and the company is currently in the appeals process with OSHA.

But attorney Mitchell disagrees. He has picked up a third client in this case and said a lawsuit against Omega Protein is in the works.

"We have not officially filed suit yet. We want to make sure we do an extensive investigation and meet with our experts want to make sure we know exactly what happened," said Mitchell.

Mitchell said he and his clients' only concern is improving safety at the plant and they want make sure that happens.

"I have relatives and friends who currently work for Omega Protein. I want to make sure that when they go in those gates, they know it's safe. Rules are going to be followed, laws are going to be followed and they are going to be able to return home," said Mitchell.

Omega Protein's Public Affairs Director Ben Landry also said, "The health and safety of our employees and contractors is an absolute priority for Omega Protein and we take these findings very seriously.”

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