Employee at Denka plant in St. John the Baptist dies
An employee for Denka Performance Elastomer died Thursday after they were found unresponsive at the company’s neoprene plant in St. John the Baptist Parish, according to a company spokesman.
The company said the employee died at a local hospital.
“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and coworkers of the employee and our entire DPE family,” wrote a company spokesman. “Right now, our collective priority is ensuring support and resources are available to the employee’s family and our entire DPE team during this very difficult time.”
The company did not provide the worker’s identity or the cause of death. St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Located just outside LaPlace in the Reserve community, the Denka plant manufactures neoprene — a synthetic material used for pieces in the automotive and construction industry as well as everyday items like swimsuits or beer koozies. The plant makes neoprene out of chloroprene, a likely carcinogen.
St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office told The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate that it received a 911 call for a "heat-related medical issue" on Thursday morning. Sheriff Mike Tregre said the woman was killed "regarding the movement of a train."
As of 2021, Denka Performance Elastomers employed 235 workers. According to a database from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, two employees at the plant have sustained severe injuries since 2017.
A OSHA spokeswoman said their agency is investigating.
This is a developing story.