Millions of barrels of oil per day are processed in the United States utilizing toxic chemicals, high temperatures, and tremendous pressure. This can make for dangerous conditions. When neither the proper safety precautions are taken nor proper safety procedures followed, the ensuing results can be devastating. Refinery explosions are extremely dangerous for those working inside the facility, outside of the facility, and even in neighboring homes and businesses. These refinery explosions can happen in industrial settings, storage facilities, chemical and processing plants, and other areas related to refineries.
Causes of Refinery Explosions
Unfortunately, too often refinery explosions can be traced to the negligence and reluctance of management to invest in the replacement, maintenance, or repair of defective equipment. This was the cause of the BP refinery explosion in Texas when faulty, corroded pipes were found to fail and release flammable vapors into the air.
Employers and the owners of the refinery are required by law to regularly inspect and maintain tanks, containers, and other equipment. They are also required to provide safe and up to code containers for flammable liquids and to inspect them for leaks, in addition to having many other safety protocols in place. In addition to failing to meet safety standards, some other common causes of refinery explosions include:
- Inadequate training of employees in proper safety procedures
- Failure to provide adequate safety equipment, e.g. containers, fire suppression, helmets, goggles, etc.
- Failure to post proper warnings, signage, and handling instructions
- Failure to inspect tanks, lines, and other equipment and repair as needed
- Unsafe handling of chemicals
- Defective equipment or worn tools and machinery
- Negligent or untrained third-party contractors or subcontractors
- Violations of OSHA regulations, state law, or other applicable safety codes
- Improper use of natural gas, benzene, or other flammable liquids used in refineries
Refinery Explosion Liability
When a refinery explosion is caused as the result of negligence of the employer or a third party, those parties are liable for any injuries or deaths that occur.
Refinery explosion injuries are often severe and can include:
- Serious burns
- Electrical burns
- Broken limbs
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Internal damage
- Permanent debilitation
- Wrongful death
Attorney for Refinery Explosions
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a refinery explosion, you have a limited time to meet deadlines. Contact the attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. immediately at no cost to learn your rights when dealing with a refinery.