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Refinery Explosions
Texas is home to the top producing oil and gas industry in the country and across the globe. The Lone Star State accounts for 41% of the nation's crude oil production and 25% of its natural gas production.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas’ 30 major refineries can produce upwards of 5.8 million barrels of crude oil daily, which accounts for 31% of the nation’s entire refining capabilities. Given Texas’ dominant position in oil and gas production, refineries are integral to our region and its workers.

Refinery Hazards

Refinery workers and their loved ones understand first-hand the dangers refinery life entails. When properly functioning under well-regulated safety standards, workers contribute to the nation’s crude oil and natural gas supply; however, this does not always happen as seamlessly as it should.

Refineries are sensitive operations that hinge on every moving part working together. Highly flammable and combustible chemicals and materials are part of everyday life for refinery workers. Unfortunately, while companies are aware of the vulnerabilities of the refining chemicals and materials being used, safety measures can still be dodged in an effort to save time and money while also putting workers’ lives at risk.

Causes of Refinery Explosions

Refinery explosions are unfortunately common due to the highly volatile chemicals used in the refining process. When required maintenance is neglected or overlooked, workers are in danger. Routine maintenance is required year-round at refineries, but even with inspections, issues can be missed allowing potential explosions to occur. Outside of failing to correctly inspect and perform routine maintenance, explosions can occur due to:

Use of Impure Chemicals

The quality of a refinery’s products is contingent upon the chemicals being used. The use of impure chemicals can lead to deadly reactions and/or explosions. “Impure chemicals” is a designation given to chemicals that have not undergone proper cleaning techniques used to rid them of additives that could react with other chemicals during the refining process.

Corrosion

One reason routine cleaning and maintenance in refineries is so important is the potential for corrosion. Corrosion of metals weakens their ability to contain highly explosive materials and can cause valves to malfunction.

Common Refinery Explosion Injuries

Explosions are extremely dangerous events that can have lasting effects on a community. Explosions can inflict life-altering injuries and expose workers and those who live nearby to toxins. Common injuries associated with refinery explosions and fires include:

  • Severe burns
  • Deep lacerations
  • Smoke inhalation-related injuries to the lungs
  • Broken bones from the blast
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Toxic exposure

Any of the above injuries could change the course of a worker’s life. Serious injuries require extensive medical care and often come with long-term pain and suffering.

Refinery Explosion Attorneys

Without oil and gas refinery workers, Texas would not be the dominant industry powerhouse it is. Oil and gas companies must keep employees safe from serious injury on the job, especially due to events that could have been prevented had companies followed federal safety guidelines and regulations. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a refinery explosion, contact us today to discuss your situation. There is limited time to act after an accident in Texas, so don’t delay.

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