Refineries are incredibly complex and dangerous jobsites. While refineries are crucial to the oil and gas, manufacturing, and agricultural industries, refinery accidents can be incredibly devastating. Texas has unfortunately seen a number of refinery accidents in recent years and it’s important to understand injuries from a refinery accident are different from many of the most common workplace injuries.
Some of the most devastating injuries from refinery accidents come from refinery explosions. Many refineries utilize a variety of volatile chemicals and put them under tremendous pressure. This sets the stage for violent explosions when safety precautions and regulations are not observed.
In the event of a refinery explosion, workers can suffer from serious and traumatic injuries like:
- Shockwave Injuries – Also called a blast injury, a shockwave injury is physical trauma caused by the shockwaves after an explosion. The ears and organs like the lungs and other hollow gastrointestinal organs are incredibly vulnerable to shockwave injuries. Shockwave injuries are always internal, and symptoms might not appear for days or hours after the explosion. Shockwave injuries can be fatal if left untreated.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) – TBIs occur when a sudden movement in the head causes the brain to move around violently. This can cause temporary or permanent brain damage. TBIs are often caused by the shockwave of a refinery explosion; and, like other shockwave injuries, the symptoms might not appear immediately. If left untreated, TBIs can be fatal.
- Penetrating Trauma – The force generated by an explosion can cause equipment and other items to fracture and propel small pieces at devastating speeds. Small pieces of metal, wood, concrete, and other substances can penetrate workers’ bodies. This type of injury will cause bleeding and could be fatal depending on the location of the injury.
- Electrical, Chemical, and Thermal Burns – While most people are aware of the thermal burn injuries associated with explosions, there are also two additional types of burns that can cause severe injuries. An explosion could cause toxic chemicals to be released, causing chemical burns that can not only damage the skin, but also cause permanent damage to the lungs and eyes. Depending on the chemical, inhalation could also prove deadly. Refinery accidents can also cause electrical burns, which cause extensive damage to the subdermal layers of the skin.
- Broken Bones – Refineries can cause a displacement of air that creates wind powerful enough to throw workers against solid objects or buildings. This can cause workers to suffer extensive broken bones in the limbs, back, and neck.
Recovering From Refinery Accident Injuries
Because of the severity of refinery accident injuries, recovery will be a long process. Victims need emergency medical treatment and will likely require additional surgeries, physical therapy, medications, and specialty medical equipment to recover. Oftentimes, victims will suffer permanent injuries rendering them unable to return work.
Corpus Christi Refinery Accident Injury Attorneys
If you have been injured in a refinery accident, the experienced Corpus Christi refinery accident attorneys at The Gutierrez Law Firm can help. We can analyze your situation and help you understand your legal options. Call us today for a free consultation.