Critics of a provision tucked into the new Farm Bill say it may exempt chemical companies from workplace safety rules inspired by the fatal 2013 fertilizer explosion in West, Texas, according to an article from the Houston Chronicle. Department of Labor officials reportedly indicate that the exemption could allow chemical companies to skirt rules put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding handling hazardous chemicals.
OSHA attempted to clarify existing safety rules in the aftermath of the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and injured more than 200 five years ago. The Trump administration has since reportedly attempted to roll back the proposed Obama-era reforms, which were opposed by the fertilizer industry and lauded by chemical safety advocates. According to the Chronicle, the OSHA exemption nestled in the massive Farm Bill is currently being hashed out in the Senate, after passing the House in June.
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