We are digging deeper into the safety record of M-F-G - the company which was the site of a serious accident yesterday in Whitfield County, where one person was hospitalized.
We found that since 2004, the time of a serious vapor release, on average.. M-F-G Chemical has had a spill or release, every year and a half since then.
That fact is troubling to both residents and regulators.
While Dalton firefighters and EMS workers were responding to the chemical release of gases at the MFG Chemical plant, one of the company's next door neighbors was held hostage in her home. "It was a little scary," says Mae Blessing, "because my property backs up to them."
Here's what's scaring Mrs. Blessing and other plant neighbors. We discovered something shocking in the company's safety history. Since the 2004 toxic gas release into the air at its South Dalton plant, M-F-G Chemical has had 6 chemical releases and/or spills.
In September of 2010, a vapor cloud was accidently released at the Callahan Road plant. The next month, hazardous liquid leaked from a container at Callahan.
A runaway chemical reaction at Callahan Road in May of 2012, resulted in OSHA citing the company with 20 safety violations, after 40 workers from other plants hospitalized for decontamination. OSHA levelled $77,000 dollars in penalties against M-F-G Chemical.
Two other spills happened at the Kimberly Park plant in April of last year, and May of this year.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division considered all but the 2012 event, minor. "MFG has had a number of releases," says Bert Langley, EPD's Director of Compliance, "but I don't think it's particularly out of the ordinary for these types of facilities."
The plant's next door neighbor begs to differ. "I don't think anything should be minor," says Mrs. Blessing. "I don't think there should be any releases at all."
And then, there is Monday's event, which injured two workers.
On its website, M-F-G management acknowledges what it calls a "minor" chemical release at the Kimberly Park facility. The statement says "the release was contained within the MFG building.. professional cleanup is underway, there is no threat to public safety.. the cause of the release is under investigation."
Nowhere does the company mention the injured worker, who had burns and inhalation injuries.
The E-P-D's Langley says, the company should consider better training for its workers to avoid those "minor" events.
Mrs. Blessing agrees. "Yeah, I would think so, because how many minors make a big one?" she wondered out loud.
The names of the injured workers have not been released, nor has their conditions. Langley with the E-P-D says, OSHA is now investigating yesterday's spill.
We reached out to M-F-G Chemical, but they have not called us back.
By Calvin Sneed