OSHA ruling deals blow to Port Wentworth community - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

OSHA ruling deals blow to Port Wentworth community

Port Wentworth city councilwoman, Patricia Jaudon. Port Wentworth city councilwoman, Patricia Jaudon.

By Melanie Ruberti - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - As if the explosion and its aftermath wasn't shocking enough, Friday's ruling by OSHA sent the community of Port Wentworth reeling all over again. See Imperial Sugar fined millions.

"I think we're quite upset," said Port Wentworth city councilwoman, Patricia Jaudon. "It seems to be a tremendous blow for the expense we're looking at, $5 million for the Port Wentworth plant."

Jaudon knew the OSHA report would be tough to hear. Especially with the number of violations, which exceeded 100 and the amount of fines, $8.7 million total between the Port Wentworth plant and the Grammercy refinery in Louisiana.

The news took her by surprise, but she's taking all the information in. "We just need to digest what they said, look at what we can do to make it better, so something like this won't happen to anybody, anywhere," she said. 

Imperial Sugar is turning a new page since the blast almost six months ago. The silos are gone and the rebuilding is underway.

Jaudon believes the OSHA report is just a wrinkle in their plans, something she hopes they can iron out in the weeks and months to come. "When we have the opportunity to answer the allegations and the items they found, I think maybe we can blend them together and see if we can look at both sides of the table and come to a better conclusion," she said. 

John Sheptor and Imperial Sugar is already contesting those allegations. No word on when they will meet with OSHA again.

Jaudon says no matter what the outcome is, she and the entire city council still stand behind Sheptor and Imperial Sugar. They also look forward to the plant re-opening next summer.

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