Sep 24, 2014 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC
Louisiana oil refineries are averaging ten accidents a week. A report by the United Steelworkers Union and neighborhood environmental groups further finds the number of accidents is underreported, and the true average is likely much higher.
These accidents include explosions, fires and equipment malfunctions that release toxic pollutants in local areas and often result in catastrophic injuries to workers.
Cause of Accidents
A common cause of oil refinery accidents is equipment failure and failure of piping and tubing. Due to the increasingly limited supply of higher quality crude oil, more intensive refining techniques are used. These techniques rely on extensive processing to produce quality products using high temperatures over an extended period of time.
Serious accidents can occur when equipment deteriorates or fails. Accidents also occur when instruments used in the process are switched, part of standard operation technique according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent Chemical Safety Alert.
To avoid the serious accidents that result from this hazardous process, the EPA’s alert incorporated a list of recommendations. Some recommendations include:
- Increasing equipment inspections and replacement of deteriorating parts
- Automating systems to decrease human contact with toxic accidents
- Manually controlling switching to avoid unanticipated instrument movement
- More training and employee awareness of abnormalities in operations like steaming
Types of Injuries and Related Claims
Oil refinery injuries range from mild to severe and can include cuts, abrasions, broken or severed limbs, paralysis and death. If the injury was caused by faulty equipment and the refinery was on notice, the company may be held liable for these injuries.
If held liable, the victim can receive compensation for medical and rehabilitation expenses as well as lost wages and pain and suffering. It is important to ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected by consulting an experienced catastrophic injury attorney.