CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bayer CropScience said Monday it continues to work on standard operating procedures and employee training for the reconfigured methyl isocyanate production unit it hoped to restart later this week before a federal judge blocked the move.
In a prepared statement, Bayer said it was in the final stages of a project aimed at least in part at reducing its Institute plant's inventory of the deadly pesticide ingredient by about 80 percent.
"As is normal when approaching the completion of a major construction project, there are many aspects which, though nearing completion, remain in progress," the statement said. "These include such activities as completing the standard operating procedures, training, and installing permanent lighting after all of the piping and equipment is properly installed."
Last month, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board blamed an August 2008 explosion that killed two workers in a different unit at the Institute plant in part on the company's failure to complete standard operating procedures and worker training before restarting that unit.
CSB investigations manager John Vorderbrueggen said that incident showed that "the absence of enforced, workable standard operating procedures and adequate safety systems meant that mistakes could prove fatal."
On Sunday, U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin said in an order that he found it "remarkable" that Bayer "has yet to complete a wide variety of safety measures," while still planning to restart the MIC unit this week.
Goodwin was responding to a motion Bayer lawyers filed late Saturday night asking the judge to clarify whether continuing such activities would violate his temporary restraining order prohibiting production of MIC.
In Saturday night's court filing, Bayer lawyer Al Emch said the company had, among other things, yet to finish labeling MIC unit equipment, testing the unit's fire suppression system and installing safety showers for workers in the area.