Take one look at the complex maze of pipes and equipment at a refinery, and it’s no surprise that refinery workers are at high risk for accidents and injuries. Modern engineering has made today’s refining systems safer, but refinery accident attorneys know the threat for injuries remains.
Negligence is often at the top of the list of reasons for industrial injuries and refinery accidents. When safety rules and equipment standards fall behind, refinery workers’ lives are put at risk.
Texas Refinery Accidents
Texas refineries have a long history of employee injuries and deaths due to refinery accidents. In the last five years, numerous refinery accidents have resulted in deaths at Texas refineries.
- January 2010 – Houston – Employee fall
- April 2010 – Port Arthur – Crane accident
- August 2012 – Port Arthur – Pipe laying accident
- April 2012 – Big Spring – Train-truck accident
- April 2013 – Beaumont – Fire
- January 2015 – Corpus Christi – Employee fall
There is no single reason for all refinery accidents. One or more of the following causes are responsible for most Texas refinery incidents:
- Improper Maintenance. From high-tech equipment to the simple hoses and connections, plants and refineries depend upon the functionality of industrial equipment. When maintenance standards are ignored and equipment is allowed to break down, catastrophic accidents are often the result. Sometimes owners attempt to save money by making equipment last longer and work beyond its serviceable timespan.
- Dirty Chemicals. The cocktail of chemicals used in the refinery process must be pure. Dirty chemicals can lead to unforeseen reactions that place refinery employees at risk for exposure to fires, explosions, and respiratory failure.
- Unseen Corrosion. The maze of pipes and metal holding tanks spends its lifetime in contact with daily weather elements and the salty coastal air. Weakened metal worn down by corrosion cannot perform at the highest standard.
- Violation of Safety Regulations. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA – has strict regulations that are designed to create a safer workplace for refinery employees. Violations of OSHA standards place employees at risk for injury and death. These violations range in degree of severity and are a primary reason for workplace accidents at refineries.
Types of Accidents and Injuries
The list of potential causes for Texas refinery accidents is lengthy, but some common reasons for industrial injuries include:
- Electrical fires and chemical explosions
- Ergonomic injuries like slips and falls
- High-pressure lines and equipment hazards
- Vehicle collisions and moving/falling equipment
- Confined space hazards involving vapors and gases
Common injuries include:
- Orthopedic injuries like broken arms, legs, and ribs
- Head trauma and brain damage
- Severe burns
- Injury to the respiratory system
- Back and neck pain
- Vision impairment
- Wrongful death
Refinery accidents are often serious and result in catastrophic injury or death. Emergent medical care and long-term rehabilitation are common and the cost of medical treatment can skyrocket. Refinery workers who are injured will often miss work for weeks or months, reducing take-home pay for their families.
Get Help from Refinery Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in a refinery accident, The Gutierrez Law Firm is here to help. Call us today at 713-588-3300.