Government agencies regulate the industry, but a Houston chemical plant accident can still occur. Executives with chemical plants may follow the agencies' rules and regulations, but a Houston wrongful death in an industrial accident can happen. This may mean that there is negligence on the part of the government agency, the chemical plant or both. It also means that those affected need to hire a Houston industrial accident attorney to file a claim against those responsible for the accident. An Example of One Company's Failure DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte, Texas experienced a leak on November 15, 2014. As a result of this chemical leak, four plant employees lost their lives. On that day at 4 a.m., the plant began to leak methyl mercaptan into the air, and it took rescue workers two hours to contain the leak. Although people could smell the chemical in the air as far away as Sugar Land, the air was not deemed to be dangerous to humans. Previous Leaks The November 15th incident is not the first time that the plant leaked methyl mercaptan. Research into this matter showed that this plant has been leaking methyl mercaptan for several years. The Failure to Report The day of the accident, 23,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan escaped into the air. This number is much higher than the amount that has been released in previous leaks over the past six years, but authorities still considered past leaks to be "significant." They were serious enough to be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA. The problem is that no one from DuPont ever did. The Consequences of DuPont's Failure to Act The sobering truth is that maintenance workers who have been employed at the plant since the year 2008 may have been inhaling methyl mercaptan the entire time. As a matter of fact, officials with OSHA determined that the levels of methyl mercaptan present in the air would have surpassed the level that the agency deems to be unsafe for humans. Sam Mannan of Texas A&M University's Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center weighed in on this issue. According to Mannan, if DuPont's officials had shared their findings with him and his agency about their toxic leaks, those who died would possibly be alive today. He stated that if he had been given the chance, he may have been able to identify where the leak was coming from and fix it before the situation became deadly. The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality's Failure There seems to have been another failure in this matter. Officials with the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality or TCEQ issued dozens of citations to the DuPont chemical plant for several emissions violations. In turn, the agency's protocol is to notify government agencies like OSHA when officials encounter a problem that is outside of their control. Unfortunately, no government agency received notification of DuPont's violations, so OSHA was unaware that a visit to the premises would be necessary. The last time the agency performed an inspection of the DuPont chemical plant was in 2007. How the Safety Measures Failed DuPont employees filed maintenance emission reports with the TCEQ that demonstrated the fact that the company had a problem with leaks. In response, TCEQ officials were supposed to monitor the plant more often. Also, the company would have been required to enact additional safety measures and provide their workers with more training. However, DuPont did not initiate these or any other protective measures while the leaks were occurring. Although DuPont spent $18 million upgrading their equipment, clogs within the system remained. This led industrial hygienist Peter Dooley to state that DuPont did not do enough to keep its employees safe.