Houston, TX May 20, 2011: In a sharply worded letter, the federal government is asking the city of Houston to reconsider its lack of action on a recommendation that is “greatly needed to protect the lives of the residents and workers of the city of Houston.” Robert Arnold reports.
Pressure vessels are metal containers that hold gasses or liquids under pressure and these things are literally everywhere around the Houston area from big refineries to local neighborhoods. The federal government has spent years trying to get the City of Houston to adopt tougher regulations so the pressure vessels don’t explode but today a letter from the Chemical Safety Board saying the city is making a dangerous decision by refusing to act.
Six years ago an entire city block was consumed by flames at the Marcus Oil Plant in the middle of a neighborhood. Investigators from the Chemical Safety Board determined a poorly welded patch on a pressure vessel led to the explosion . Local 2 Investigates uncovered several accidents with pressure vessels, some killed plant workers. These accidents are why the Chemical Safety Board has been urging the City of Houston to adopt a strict engineering code to make the use andoperation of pressure vessels safer. But after years of trying the CSB finally sent a letter to the city saying the matter was close, unacceptable action because of the city’s continued unwillingness to implement recommendations which the board feels is necessary to prevent future incidents.
“It’s unprecedented that a municipality that has an obligation to protect the safety of its citizens would ignore the recommendation.” Attorney Rob Ammons represents people who have been seriously hurt in pressure vessels accidents. We also spoke with CSB board member John Bresland, he told us, “This is not some rinky dink code. This will make operations safer, this will make the citizens safer.”
Bresland added he is even more baffled by the city’s decision not to act, adding: “I am not aware of any research or study the city did before deciding not ot act on the Chemical Safety Board’s recommendation.”
This is the first ime in the history of the CSB that they have had to take this kind of action with a city. Now, Mayor Annise Parker, who inherited this issue just released a statement saying the city did examine the issue and decided against it but based on that letter from the CSB the city now says it will take another look at whether they should follow the CSB recommendation.
Rob Ammons is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, in addition to being Board Certified in Civil Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Rob Ammons’ law practice, The Ammons Law Firm, is located in Houston, Texas.
The Ammons Law Firm practice is exclusively personal injury law, handling such cases as: tire defects, oil rig explosions, truck accidents, plant explosions, refinery accidents, wrongful death, post-collision fires, seat belt defects, airbag defects, SUV rollovers and workplace negligence.