Target: Dow Chemical Terneuzen

20 July 2012 - The Law

120px Inhallation Hazard.jpgIn a previous episode here we have seen how Chemie-Pack senior management was hauled into prison for blatant disrespect of Dutch safety- and regulatory laws. This time the management of Dow Chemical location Terneuzen has to worry. The company will be prosecuted for a series of offences (Link) that took place between 2005 and 2008. Examples are the release of a large amount of naphtha gas (Link) and a release of 2000 liters of benzene. According to the prosecution office Dow Chemical puts production before maintenance and personnel safety. On several occasions the company did not bother to report the incidents to the local authorities.

In related news in the Netherlands half the companies working with hazardous materials violate safety regulations (link). Agencies responsible for monitoring the chemical industry have pledged to take their work more seriously: less paperwork and more actual physical presence at the plants (link). According to the provinces already more visitations take place and more companies get fined (link). Example at hand: today an oil terminal in Rotterdam owned by Odfjell was shut down on suspicion of poorly maintained fire fighting equipment. (Link). According the local environmental government agency this facility too, like Dow Chemical, has a long history of neglecting the rules.

It is all too clear that in the aftermath of Chemie-Pack the Dutch government has toughened up its image. With violators prosecution is certain. Jail time for management is an option. The Chemie-Pack trial starts in October (Link)