In 2012, an oil processing plant in eastern Montana called Custom Carbon Processing Inc. exploded after Woody’s Trucking LLC delivered hazardous materials to the plant without the proper safety mechanisms and authority to do so. Three people were injured, and the plant was in flames for over a week following the explosion.
In 2015–three years after the initial incident–the driver was charged with transporting hazardous materials without a placard, ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, and sentenced to three years probation.
The case had an update three days ago (May 22, 2018), when Woody’s Trucking and its owner Donald Wood Jr. were found guilty of several charges (after a short jury deliberation time of only three hours), some of which included: conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, transporting hazardous materials without proper documentation and obstructing an investigation. In total, 13 out of 14 charges against the accused stuck. And according to prosecutors, Wood and his company must pay nearly $645,000.
It turns out that Woody’s Trucking did not have insurance coverage for hauling hazmat loads because they neglected to inform their insurance company of this practice. Additionally, witness testimony stated that Wood told the truck driver to place a false bill of lading in the burned out truck to obscure the fact that the trucking company was operating without proper placards. In addition to entities tied to Woody’s Trucking, federal charges against Custom Carbon Processing are also in the works (but still processing) because they did not have proper safety systems in place to mitigate explosion risks.
As we head out for the holiday weekend, let’s think about if we’re successfully handling risk management and/or safety processes within our companies. What areas can be improved? Which small details have been glossed over? These seemingly inconsequential details can have HUGE impact on our lives and businesses…what ever we can do to mitigate that risk should be front and center in all of our minds, all of the time.
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