Explosions and accidents within oil refineries are all too common and continue to injure and kill individuals every year. Despite misleading government statistics which state that refinery deaths have decreased in recent years, news reports indicate otherwise and reveal at least 64 refinery deaths before the year 2005 and a minimum of 58 more since then. This discrepancy is related to the fact that around half of all refinery workers are considered contractors rather than full time refinery employees. These individuals are typically assigned the most dangerous tasks such as welding and the periodic cleaning, maintenance and restarting of equipment. All of the 15 fatalities that occurred during the Texas City BP refinery disaster of 2005 were contractors whose deaths do not appear on government records as refinery related incidents because they are not counted in the injury or mortality rate statistics.
Baron & Budd is currently taking cases for workers and employees injured in oil refinery explosions and other serious accidents. Call 866-974-0818 to schedule a complimentary case review with our firm. If after reviewing your case we determine that you are eligible to file a claim, one of our oil refinery explosion lawyers will handle your case to get you compensation.
Refinery Owners Often Reluctant to Upgrade a Facility
Many oil refineries are aging, and could use some safety and finishing upgrades. Because of the extremely hazardous liquids and gases present at refineries, any deferred maintenance can result in an explosion that has the potential to claim many lives and cause severe and catastrophic injures. Refinery owners and operators are often reluctant to invest in important safety upgrades that would lessen the risk of accidents.
It is quite possible that the 2005 Texas City disaster could have been prevented with the simple addition of flares to replace the outdated stack technology that remained in use, despite BP having been warned of the risk.
Oil Companies Negligent for Unsafe Working Environment
Regardless of whether a worker is a full time employee or considered a contractor, refinery owners and any involved third parties are required by law to maintain a reasonably safe working environment on their behalf. If the environment is not safe, the oil company, refinery owner, or contracting company can be found negligent for the unsafe work environment that caused the injuries.
People who have been harmed at a refinery have the right to financial compensation that may extend beyond traditional workers compensation. Family members of a deceased refinery worker (or contractor) may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against any negligent parties. If you are interested in pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit after a family member was killed in an oil refinery explosion or other devastating accident, contact our law firm to schedule a consultation.
Common Injuries from Refinery Explosions
Oil refinery injuries are usually fatal. While severe burns are some of the most common injuries seen after a refinery accident, broken bones, head, neck and spinal injuries as well as crushed limbs and appendages also occur. Respiratory distress resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals can result from the lack of or improper use of safety equipment, and falls often occur when workers are required to clean or weld within large tanks or perform other duties in high locations.
Negligence and Operator Errors Are Common Causes of Refinery Explosions
Reports from previous refinery explosions reveal that many of these accidents were preventable. In many cases, workers did not receive the proper training or supervision required to ensure all safety regulations were followed. The addition of contract labor to the work force at most refineries further complicates the matter, as contractors may technically be considered “self-employed” and are exempt from OSHA rules. Consult with an oilfield injury lawyer familiar with work injury claims offshore and in refineries to find out more.
Poor maintenance of the facility and lack of adequate safety procedures increase the likelihood of an accident and may be grounds for holding refinery owners and operators negligent and liable for damages should an injury or death result from operator negligence.
Third Party Role in Refinery Safety & Liability Lawsuits
Several third parties can sometimes be named as defendants in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Third parties such as manufacturers of refinery equipment have an obligation to provide products designed with safety in mind. When an alternate, safer design exists yet a manufacturer continues to produce inferior refinery components, they may be liable for damages as stated in Chapter 82 of the Texas Civil Code for product liability or the civil code for the jurisdictional state if the refinery is located outside of Texas. Products produced without appropriate warning labels or containing any manufacturing defect may also serve to hold the manufacturer liable for damages under the same state code.
Contact an Attorney for Oil Refinery Accident Claims
Injured in an oil refinery accident or lost a loved one in a refinery explosion? Don’t let them get away with this. Let us help you hold them accountable by filing a lawsuit for injury or wrongful death claims. Our oil refinery accident attorneys will fight to get you the money you deserve. Call 866-974-0818 or complete our contact form to schedule a free case review with our legal team.