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Oil Refinery Explosions Place Workers and Nearby Residents at Risk in Texas and Nationwide

252841_oil_refinery_ii sxchu username alfredo-9.jpgIn early August, more than four thousand residents of the area surrounding a Richmond, California oil refinery were taken to local hospitals for exposure to unknown quantities of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide following a fire at the facility. According to federal investigators, the explosion and resulting fire at the Chevron refinery was likely caused by a corroded pipe the company failed to replace following a safety inspection last fall. In addition to the smoke cloud that sent thousands to the hospital, more than one dozen workers were allegedly placed in harm’s way by the explosion.

A representative from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board stated the incident at the refinery began after a worker noticed a leak in one of the pipes. After the insulation surrounding the pipe was removed for inspection, a large vapor cloud reportedly formed. When workers realized the cloud had formed, they immediately left the area which ignited soon after. A similar incident occurred at the same facility in 1999. In response to the most recent explosion and fire, Chevron has set up an injury claim hotline.

Despite numerous federal safety regulations, the explosion was just one of multiple recent refinery fires across the nation. For example, an early morning explosion and fire at a west Tulsa refinery owned by HollyFrontier Corporation awoke residents of the surrounding community on August 2nd. Although flames were apparently visible from six miles away, no injuries were reported. The cause of that fire is currently under investigation.

The California and Oklahoma refinery fires occurred less than one month after British Petroleum (BP) agreed to pay approximately $13 million in penalties for worker health and safety risks at the company’s Texas City oil refinery. In a follow-up investigation, the nation’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued 270 failure-to-abate notices for more than 400 process safety management violations after the agency learned BP did not correct many of the hazardous conditions that led to a refinery explosion that killed 15 workers in March 2005. According to Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, the BP settlement was designed to establish a culture of safety at the company’s Texas City refinery. Additionally, she said the goal of the agreement was to save the lives of refinery workers.

Clearly, both employees and nearby residents of oil refineries are placed at risk whenever a big oil company such as Chevron or BP fails to exercise proper safety measures. Oil refinery accidents can be extremely complicated and the process for obtaining compensation for any resulting injuries can be difficult to navigate. If you or a loved one was injured as a result of an oil company’s negligence, you should contact a capable oil and gas accident lawyer as soon as you are able.


If you were hurt as a result of an oil refinery explosion or fire, contact Carabin & Shaw today. Our hardworking San Antonio personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping injured people throughout Texas achieve the compensation they deserve. At Carabin & Shaw, our experienced attorneys are available to answer your questions and help you file your personal injury case. Our lawyers represent clients located in McAllen, Beaumont, Laredo, Rockport, El Paso, Beeville, San Antonio, Seguin, Austin, and other Texas locations. To schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled attorney, call Carabin & Shaw toll free at (800) 862-1260 or contact us through the law firm’s website.

More Blogs:

Manufacturers Recall Thousands of Strollers Over Child Safety Hazards in Texas, Nationwide, Throughout Nation, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, July 31, 2012
Merck Drug Propecia Linked to Long-Term Side Effects in Texas and Nationwide, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, July 27, 2012
Additional Resources:

AP NewsBreak: Refinery probe focuses on corrosion, by Jason Dearen, charlotteobserver.com
BP agrees to pay more than $13 million and abate violations in settlement agreement with US Department of Labor, OSHA News Release: 12-1383-NAT dated July 12, 2012
HollyFrontier Refinery Tulsa fire: Explosion, flames rock oil refinery in west Tulsa, Oklahoma, by KJRH Web Staff, wptv.com

Photo credit:
alfredo-9, Stock.xchng