Refinery Fatalities and Wrongful Death

With millions of barrels of oil and natural gas per day being processed in the U.S. that utilize toxic chemicals operating at high temperatures, it can make for dangerous conditions. When the proper safety procedures and proper precautions are not taken, the inevitable results can be deadly. One of the most common causes of fatalities in a refinery are explosions, which are extremely dangerous for those working both inside and outside of the facility and even in neighboring areas. These explosions can also occur in industrial settings, oil and gas storage facilities, processing and chemical plants, and other refinery related areas.

Refinery Serious Injury Causes

With approximately 500,000 workers employed as part of the oil and gas extraction industry, they can all be put in danger. This includes all those working in the exploration for crude products, those in refineries and oil plants, oil and gas extraction workers, transportation, and support facilities.

Refinery explosions can often be linked to the negligence of the facility owners or management to invest in the replacement, repair, and maintenance of defective items. This was the cause of a BP refinery explosion in Texas City when corroded pipes were found to release flammable vapors into the air and explode. The refinery fatality was responsible for 15 wrongful deaths and over 170 injuries.

The most common causes of many refinery explosions are:

  • Failure to provide adequate safety equipment
  • Inadequate training of employees in proper safety procedures
  • Failure to post proper warnings, signage, and handling instructions
  • Failure to inspect tanks, lines, and other equipment and repair as needed
  • Defective equipment or worn tools and machinery
  • Unsafe handling of chemicals by employees
  • Negligent or untrained third-party contractors or subcontractors
  • Improper use of natural gas, benzene, and other flammable liquids
  • Violations of OSHA regulations,  state law, or other safety codes

Refinery Fatality and Wrongful Death Liability

When a refinery wrongful death is caused as the result of negligence of the employer or a third party, they are liable for any deaths that may occur including the costs for:

  • Medical bills
  • Burial costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost companionship
  • And more

Refinery Accidents

For the year 2009, industrial accidents (including those in refineries) caused more than 1.2 million injuries among workers in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Industrial accidents also were responsible for 4,340 deaths in the same year. For the year 2012, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) Occupational Injury & Illness Report recorded a total accident incident rate for those working at petroleum refining facilities to be 0.5 incidents per 100 full time employees, or one out of 200 workers.

Refinery Accident Causes

Refinery accidents can be broken down into three main categories:

Human Error and Improper Training

A large part of the industrial accidents that occur are the result of a worker failing to follow safety procedures. A majority of injuries, over 74 percent, happened when the proper equipment is not used, when personnel attempt to use improper tools and damage the machines creating a safety hazard, and other improper training by management.

Improper Maintenance

Refinery equipment must be maintained in order to function properly. This includes all storage tanks, pipes, lines, moving equipment, safety equipment, and more. The owners and management companies are required to have all equipment inspected, maintained, repaired, and replaced according to manufacturing standards.

Defects in Manufacturing

In some cases, equipment will be inspected, maintained, repaired, and replaced according to manufacturing specifications. However, the manufacturer can still put out defective pieces of equipment or not properly warn of the equipment’s dangers. In these cases, the manufacturer is responsible for any accidents that occur as the result of their defects.

How Many Refinery Accidents are There?

The latest statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are from the year 2014. Interesting refinery accident stats include:

  • Petroleum refineries are the 7th most dangerous place to work in the United States behind air transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing.
  • The AFPM records 7.6 refinery accidents in their members resulting in injury or illness per 100 full time members in 1988 down to 0.7 per hundred in 2012.
  • Over 34,000 workers in Texas operate under NAICS code 32411 and earn over $3.4 billion in payroll.

Beaumont Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been killed in a refinery, contact our firm immediately to learn your rights.

List of Refineries in Beaumont

Exxonmobil Corp
SYCAMORE StBeaumont, TX 77701
(409) 757-3763

Action Oil Service
5750 Avenue ABeaumont, TX 77705
(409) 832-2663
Oil Field Service Oil Well Services

Reese Oil
2550 Broadway StBeaumont, TX 77702
(409) 838-5225
Oil Refiners

J A M Distributing
3795 Stone Oak DrBeaumont, TX 77705
(409) 832-8502
Petroleum OilsPetroleum Products

Thomas Petroleum
11703 W Port Arthur RdBeaumont, TX 77705
(409) 729-4868
Petroleum ProductsOil Refiners

K&S Associates
Serving the Beaumont Area.
(877) 457-8764
Educational Services Oil Refiners
Serving petrochemical Industry for 31 years