3 Dead, 7 Injured in DeRidder Plant Explosion

A plant explosion in DeRidder, Louisiana resulted in three deaths and at least seven injuries Wednesday morning. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the tragic accident.

About the DeRidder Plant Explosion

According to the Beauregard Daily News, the explosion occurred at the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) plant on U.S. 190 around 11 a.m.

Multiple ambulances were called to the scene to transport injured personnel, and at least one victim was airlifted from the scene. State Police HAZMAT and State Fire Marshals also responded to the scene.

The explosion has been linked back to two tanks; however, authorities have not determined what was in those tanks or what caused the tanks to explode.

PCA Has History of Worker Fatalities and Safety Violations

According to KATC, Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) has a history of worker fatalities and serious safety violations.

In 2008, three workers were killed at a PCA plant in Tomahawk, Wisconsin when a tank exploded while workers were welding it. Two more workers were killed at the plant in 2012 after a steam and ash release triggered by fly ash fatally injured them. In 2013, a worker at the plant was severely burned when trying to relight a steam boiler.

A plant in Akron, Ohio was also the subject of OSHA investigations and fines after workers repeatedly suffered amputations and serious injuries. Three violations observed by investigators were marked as repeat hazards.

In 2010, OSHA fined PCA for “willful violations” that occurred at their Milwaukee, Wisconsin plant. These violations were considered to have been “committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.”

All in all, records indicate PCA has been disciplined with fines for at least 154 separate violations over the past decade alone.

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