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Houston businessman faces charges for putting workers in danger

In 2008, two truck drivers lost their lives when a Port Author, Texas, employer had them illegally transport hazardous gases. Now the employer is facing serious criminal charges for causing the workplace fatalities.

In a 13-count federal indictment, the president and owner of Port Arthur Chemical and Environmental Services LLC is accused of illegally transporting hazardous materials and failing to protect workers from the hazardous gases.

A 36-year-old Arlington, Texas, man was killed in December 2008 by asphyxiation and poisoning from hydrogen sulfide inhalation, according to an autopsy report.

Before that, a 48-year-old employee from Louisiana was killed in April 2008 after suffering a heart attack resulting from hydrogen sulfide inhalation, the criminal indictment states.

In addition to the two deaths at the Port Author facility, a third worker lost his life at another Texas facility owned by the businessman who has been charged.

A 45-year-old worker was killed at CES Environmental Services in Houston when an explosion and fire knocked him off of a tank he was working on. It was just three months after the truck driver was killed on the job.

The businessman is not facing criminal charges relating to the Houston workplace death. However, it did result in a $1.5 million fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety violations that were discovered in an investigation following the accident.

If the charges this businessman faces are accurate, it is clear that he has no concern for the health and safety of his employees. If convicted, the businessman could face up to five years in prison, which would give him plenty of time to think about the lives he ruined.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Defunct facility, owner named in federal indictment," Heather Holan, July 19, 2012

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