Petroleum refining is one of the biggest and most powerful industries in Texas. We produce the most oil of any state in the U.S., accounting for one-third of the entire nation’s crude production. Oil has made Texas very prosperous, but this industry owes its workers safe conditions and protection against injuries. What laws are in place to protect Texas refinery workers? Let’s take a look.
Your Rights as an Employee
The U.S. Department of Labor oversees OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This federal office takes care of all workers in the United States, regardless of their job. OSHA ensures that all workers are entitled to the following:
• You should be trained for your job in a language you understand.
• You should work on machines and equipment that are safe.
• Your employer should provide you with safety gear. This includes harnesses, lifelines, gloves, hardhats, and other protective clothing and equipment.
• You should have protection from toxic chemicals.
• You have the right to request an OSHA inspection of your job area or site, and you are entitled to speak directly to the inspector.
• You have the right to report an injury or illness, and get copies of your medical records.
• You may review your employer’s records of workplace injuries and illnesses.
• You may get copies of test results done to find any hazards at your workplace.
OSHA, along with MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency), also have extensive rules in place for companies to ensure they operate safe work environments and equipment. Some rules these companies must follow are outlined below:
• Employers must provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act of 1970.
• Employers must post OSHA citations at or near work area, and keep these violations posted for 3 days or until violation has been corrected.
• Employers must have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program in place at all times.
• Employers must conduct safety training in a language and vocabulary that all workers can understand.
• Employers must not discriminate against employees who exercise their rights under the OSH Act (“Whistleblower Protection“)
Refinery and Oil Field Accidents and Injuries
Even with these federal laws in place, accidents can happen. Some injuries that can occur in a refinery accident include burns, damage to hearing and sight, lung damage and/or injury, traumatic brain injuries, bone fractures, and joint dislocations. These types of injuries can be minor, or they could lead to lifelong health problems and loss of income.
The Attorneys at Gutierrez Law Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a refinery accident, you need attorneys who are familiar with OSHA and MSHA rules and regulations, Gutierrez Law Firm has successfully argued many workplace accident cases, resulting in millions of dollars in recovery for our clients. Most recently, our firm won an appeal in the case of a refinery accident at the court of appeals in Corpus Christi. Please contact us for a free consultation by calling (361) 664-7377 or (713) 588-3300. You may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.