Texas Plant Explosion Highlights Complexity of Workplace Safety Law According to Attorney Michael Gopin


Personal injury attorney Michael Gopin and his associates address a wide range of cases at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PC located in El Paso, Texas. Through their experiences they have found that not every incident of harm or negligence is always cut-and-dry, especially when it comes to cases involving workplace safety. Gopin comments, “While there are many laws in effect meant to protect the compensatory rights of employees injured on the job, many times legal action is required in order for a victim to receive retribution for damages.”

While Gopin notes that many workplace safety issues involve common accidents—such as slip and fall scenarios—sometimes the matter can become much more complex. For instance, a new article from The Huffington Post discusses the recent fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas and how it “reveals wide gaps in workplace safety laws.” Although the media has announced some speculation of negligence involved in the explosion, the cause of the incident remains inconclusive. This circumstance has left many authorities to examine the event from multiple angles—including the ways that the nation’s current take on OSHA regulation could have impacted the fatal occurrence.

The article states, “Occupational health experts…are pointing to at least one contributing factor: the inadequacy of U.S. workplace safety laws and their enforcement… As has been reported, the fertilizer plant hadn’t been inspected by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration since 1985, when the company was fined $30. It isn’t clear yet why exactly the workplace went nearly three decades without further inspections from OSHA, but none of the possibilities is encouraging.” One example indicated by the article may be one legal exemption that prevents inspections from occurring in workplaces where 10 or less employees work.

In response, Michael Gopin comments, “Regardless of the workplace safety circumstances that are related to the West, Texas explosion, the even does bring very many real concerns to surface. While the fertilizer plant may have been without thorough safety inspection due to a small-business exemption, the events that unfolded reveal that just because a workplace may be small, it is not any less dangerous than one that employs a large amount of individuals. Not do these legal gaps suggest that employees in small businesses may be more prone to incidents of injury, but they could even impact communities on a wider scale.”

Another issue that may have contributed to the explosion, according to The Huffington Post, may simply be a lack of resources and funding. The article states, “While the agency’s budget has increased modestly under the Obama administration, it still isn’t adequate in the eyes of safety experts, many of whom weren’t surprised at all that the fertilizer facility hadn’t been inspected in 28 years. According to the AFL-CIO, which analyzes OSHA data in its annual Death on the Job report, it would take the agency 137 years to inspect all the worksites in Texas with the resources it currently has.”

According to Michael Gopin, such a lack in resources is disappointing; however, he hopes that the West, Texas plant explosion will help increase OSHA inspection efforts, and more importantly, encourage business owners to lead by placing a high importance on safety. “Workplace safety laws can be very complicated, which is why so many individuals who incur harm on the job must acquire legal representation by an attorney well-versed in personal injury law. Although it is my hope that OSHA inspection and workplace safety laws will improve, businesses should still offer a high degree of safety to their employees by promoting necessary training, keeping areas clean and clearly identifying dangers.”

The Huffington Post notes that experts anticipate that the scope and national attention of the West, Texas tragedy will spur “OSHA [to] rack up every possible violation it can uncover, possibly pushing a tab into the millions of dollars.” Gopin believes that the victims of the incident should be entitled to as much as possible in personal injury damages; however, there is little that OSHA can do to repair the loss of life and harm that was caused by the explosion. As a proponent of workplace safety and thorough regulation in all work environments, Michael Gopin strongly encourages all victims involved in on-the-job accidents to consult a personal injury attorney to take proper legal action.



 Michael Gopin is the founder of the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin PC, which serves residents in El Paso, Texas, and neighboring communities. The legal team at the firm has over 20 years of combined experience, and as such is able to offer support in multiple practice areas within the personal injury category. Gopin and his team represent clients who are involved in cases regarding medical malpractice, workplace injuries, motorcycle accidents, dangerous drugs and more. Gopin recommends that individuals who are facing a legal battle secure the support of a qualified and reputable legal professional. 


Texas Plant Explosion Highlights Complexity of Workplace Safety Law According to Attorney Michael Gopin by
Chanel Alli
More Posts By Chanel Alli
Posted: Tue, Apr 30th, 2013

Related Articles