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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.

John T. Flood is an attorney in Corpus Christi, TX who focuses on refinery accident and explosion cases. Call (361) 654-8877 today for a free initial case evaluation.

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.


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.

Corpus Christi Refinery Accident 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 Corpus Christi attorney John Flood today to discuss your situation. There is limited time to act after an accident in Texas, so don’t delay. Call (361) 654-8877 today for a free initial case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Refinery Explosions

What causes explosions at oil refineries?

Oil refinery explosions are caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Improperly maintained equipment
  • Defective equipment or tools
  • Lax safety procedures
  • Poorly trained workers
  • The use of impure or dirty chemicals
  • OSHA safety violations
  • Human error or negligence, including smoking cigarettes near flammable materials

What kinds of injuries can result from a refinery explosion?

Refinery explosion injuries are often severe and can include burns, orthopedic injuries like broken arms and legs, traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries, respiratory injuries, vision problems, lacerations, acoustic trauma or hearing-related injuries, and even wrongful death.

Should you hire a lawyer after a refinery accident?

After a refinery accident, an injured worker should always at least speak with an experienced workplace injury lawyer. Employers have legal duties to provide a safe workplace and to afford appropriate medical care in the event of an on-the-job accident. An experienced lawyer will know what their obligations are, can help determine the root cause of the incident, and can help ensure you get the maximum available financial compensation to help you recover.

What is your refinery employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance?

If a Texas employer does not subscribe to workers’ compensation, an injured employee can sue them directly in civil court for the damage they suffered at work. In our state, employers are not required to maintain workers’ comp insurance, which normally prevents them from being sued for personal injury; therefore, if they don’t have it, you can hire a lawyer and sue them to recover for the damages you suffered.

What should I do if I’m injured in a refinery explosion?

If you are injured in a refinery explosion, you should first inform your employer and seek medical attention immediately. The most important thing to do is to make sure you are safe and secure and out of danger, including removing yourself from the area of incident if possible, and seeking medical help. Once you are stabilized, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer.

I was offered a settlement from a refinery explosion. Should I accept it?

Companies operating in dangerous industries are generally required to carry large insurance policies. They also have expensive lawyers on retainer whose job it is to pay out as little as possible for injury and death claims. Only an experienced refinery accident attorney can evaluate the facts of your particular situation and advise you as to whether the amount you’re being offered is within the appropriate range.

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