DuPont announces “Moment of Silence” on Anniversary of LaPorte DuPont facility fatalities
One year ago this weekend, a toxic gas leak took the lives of four workers of the DuPont LaPorte chemical facility. All four families retained counsel to pursue legal remedies for those losses in Harris County District Court. The first of those four claims finally reached closure with DuPont a few weeks ago with a confidential financial settlement. The sole legal heir in the case was Jasmine Wise, the surviving daughter of Chrystle Wise, a highly experienced industrial operator still relatively new to the LaPorte DuPont facility at the time of the tragedy. While the financial settlement remains confidential, the full settlement included a number of additional terms. One of the terms would be a $100,000.00 contribution by DuPont to the Humane Society in memory of Chrystle Wise, one of the four victims. Another very unique component of the settlement included a “Moment of Silence” each year on the anniversary of the incident for the next ten years at DuPont facilities nationwide.
This weekend recognizes the first anniversary of this tragedy, and DuPont has confirmed that it will recognize these four workers with a noon Sunday “Moment of Silence” at their facilities. While the family has indicated they will pay their respects privately, Jasmine had this to say:
“Marking a year of losing a close family member, of losing a Mother is an unspeakable feeling. The tragedy that took place and cost the lives of four workers at DuPont is devastating. I am not ready to give up on keeping this incident out in the open for discussion. I am proud that we were able to have DuPont agree to the moment of silence for the next 10 years. I truly hope that in that moment and their after, a focus on what happened will be a reminder that life is sometimes short and those of us alive are fortunate.”
Likewise, Jasmine’s lead counsel, Brent Coon of Brent Coon and Associates, sums it up as follows: “DuPont is to be commended for agreeing to these terms. They would not have been required to honor such a request in a court of law, which can only address monetary damages. Money can’t bring back these loved ones, and a settlement cannot mandate improved safety in our plants. What this agreement does do, and what this very important “Moment of Silence” does is two things. First, it makes sure that these four workers are remembered. They literally gave their lives in their jobs and for their families. Workplace fatalities are always very tragic and heartbreaking at many levels, and it is a very good thing for a major company operating in this sector to take a step back and acknowledge these individuals every year for the next decade. We hope that what DuPont is doing in this regard is something that other companies will voluntarily emulate in the event such tragedies befall any of their workforce. A “Moment of Silence” not only pays tribute to these workers, but also gives everyone a brief time to reflect on what goes on in these plants and what can and should be done at all time to put safety first, to call into question any processes, decisions or conditions that compromise safety and health, and to address them in a timely fashion so these types of things don’t happen as often. No worker should go home in a coffin”.