Workplace Death Charges in Texas: Company President Prosecuted for Worker Deaths
When workers take a truck driving job with a Texas company, they expect to be able to work safely, to know what they’re hauling, and to know the health effects. They also expect government agencies such as OSHA to have their backs and keep them safe. Because of occupational safety and health laws, their companies have a duty to make sure that’s the case.
While accidents can happen to anyone at any time, when one company sees three truck drivers die within the space of seven months, in part because of what they were hauling, someone has failed somewhere along the line.
Matthew Bowman is the former president of Port Arthur Chemical and Environmental Services. His former company used a chemical process to create sodium hydrogen sulfide, or NaSH, which they then sold to paper companies as a reagent. Such a process results in large amounts of liquid chemical waste, which the company then takes to an injection well owned by Newpark Environmental Services for disposal.
According to a federal indictment against Bowman, under his watch the company was routinely illegally transporting and mislabeling this extremely hazardous waste. He was also apparently ordering the drivers to falsify records, and lie about the contents of the tankers as they were being transported to the disposal company. To make matters worse, over a seven month period, three of their drivers died transporting these chemicals, with at least one confirmed dead from asphyxiation due to hydrogen sulfide poisoning. Who knows how many others came into contact with the mixture and could be facing serious health consequences?
Bowman faced 13 counts in the indictment, and has pled guilty to two, in order to have the other 11 dismissed. If the judge agrees to accept the plea, he could face a year in prison and a maximum $500,000 fine for actions that resulted in the deaths of three drivers.
Workers have the right to a safe workplace. And working in an environment featuring constant exposure to harmful chemicals can lead to negative health effects, including disability and even death. As in this case, that sometimes happens when companies place profits ahead of worker safety.
The Texas Chemical Exposure Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm have represented many people who have been exposed to dangerous chemicals while doing their job. If you or a loved one have become sick or died due to exposure to dangerous chemicals on the job, call the Texas Chemical Exposure Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible for a free consultation.