The demand for oil and gas worldwide has, unfortunately, put profits over people. The oil, gas, and petrochemical refinery industry are considered some of the most dangerous occupations to work in. Year after year, there are countless oil and gas explosions across the country. Many people have been severely maimed and injured on the job or while living in the vicinity of an industrial accident.

The infamous March 2005 BP oil refinery in Texas City, Texas, killed 15 people and injured a further 170. As recently as June 2013, the U.S. experienced another tragic oil plant explosion in Geismar, Louisiana. Reboilers with a fatal design flaw exploded, killing 2 and injuring 70 other people. Worse, the Department of Environmental Quality determined that thousands of tons of chemicals and volatile compounds were released into the environment.

The lack of adequate safety measures and the volatile and potentially dangerous nature of oil and gas make the industry inherently hazardous for workers and their families. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed working in the petrochemical industry, you will need the services and expertise of an oil plant explosion attorney.

What causes an oil plant explosion?

Most of the time, oil and gas plant explosions are the cause of employer negligence. Oil plant management is often reluctant to invest in the proper safety measures, and repairs and replacement of faulty or old and outdated equipment. Corroded pipes partially caused the 2005 BP explosion. The pipelines exploded and emitted flammable vapors into the air. Also, the plant’s alarm systems were malfunctioning at the time of the blast.

In the Geismar explosion case, the cause was a valve design flaw made years before the explosion. The company was notified and even warned about the design flaw and that it would likely result in an explosion if it weren’t fixed. Management ignored the warnings for ten years. Luck eventually ran out and resulted in the explosion that killed two innocent people.

Routine maintenance and proper oversight could have prevented both tragedies from occurring.

Unfortunately for the victims and their families, the lack of preventative measures on the part of their employers meant they needed the services of an experienced oil explosion attorney to get them the compensation they deserved for their trauma, injuries, lost wages and medical bills.  

OSHA and other government bodies require refineries to provide and maintain specific safety measures to prevent an explosion or industrial accident.

  • Provide safe and adequate containment of flammable and volatile liquids

  • Inspect and maintain pressurized tanks and containers regularly

  • Put unprotected buildings away from any hazardous areas

  • Adequately train workers on safety procedures

  • Maintain alarms and warning systems

  • Maintain adequate staffing

A lack of routine maintenance and proper upkeep of oil plant systems endangers the workers and also the people who live within the vicinity of the plant. Ammonia is often released in a petrochemical and oil plant explosion. Those who live close to the accident site may unknowingly breathe in the vapor and experience serious health consequences as a result, such as coughing and chest pain, temporary blindness, pain in the mouth, throat, and eyes, cardiovascular complications, and lack of oxygen. For the elderly, young children, and those with weakened immune systems or other health problems, a local oil plant explosion can be deadly.

In the event of an accident, an experienced oil plant explosion attorney may need to represent members of the local community as well as the petrochemical workers.

What can an oil plant explosion attorney do for their clients?

Oil and gas explosions can not only injure those who work at the plant, but the chemicals which are released into the air can severely damage and harm the local community. An experienced industrial accident attorney can help victims receive the compensation they deserve from a negligent plant. Victims can get back the money they lost due to missed wages and disability, as well as have their medical care covered with the help of an oil plant explosion attorney.

 

Published by Charlesa Gibson