When you live in the state of Texas, it is not unusual to hear about an oil refinery explosion happening somewhere not too far from you. There is a very long list of safety measures in place to try to prevent an oil refinery explosion, but things can go wrong and people can get hurt. When there is a Texas refinery explosion, you could be looking at a very large personal injury situation. Injuries and deaths associated with refinery accidents can happen in a moment, but they can change the lives of the victims and their families forever.
A very significant Texas refinery explosion occurred on March 23, 2005, when the refinery at the BP Texas City facility exploded and killed 15 people while injuring 180 others. Despite the presence of a team of professional engineers on-site during one of the plant’s normal transitions, something went wrong, and the resulting disaster will never be forgotten. And in November 2003, a series of refinery tanks exploded in Midland, Texas, in a chain reaction that took out at least six tanks. Thankfully, while the physical damage was great, injuries were limited in that case.
A Texas oil explosion is a horrific event, but it should be noted that oil refinery accidents are not limited to just Texas. In July 2001, a large tank explosion in Delaware City, Delaware, sent a shower of more than 600,000 gallons of sulfuric acid into the sky and killed wildlife for miles around. And in May 2009, a refinery explosion near Claymont, Delaware, was so violent that people living in surrounding areas voluntarily evacuated their homes.
Along with refinery accidents, oil processing plants also have issues with exploding pipes that transport gas and oil to various places, along with wells exploding. In November 2003, a gas pipe running through Bath County, Kentucky, exploded, causing a fire that burned for more than an hour. In April 2001, a well drilled near New Iberia, Louisiana, exploded with such force that the resulting plume of smoke could be seen for miles around.
According to Popular Mechanics, many refinery explosions occur during or after spring maintenance. Most refineries shut down for part of the year, and that is when maintenance is performed. When the plant is ready to transition to refining gasoline for the coming season, all of the equipment is turned back on. If an extensive checklist of nearly 30,000 procedures is not followed exactly, then there could be an explosion. The transition period is also the time when all workers are called back to the plant, and that is why the number of dead and injured can sometimes be so high.
The key to good refinery safety is to make sure that those checklists are followed to the letter. Another way to help prevent refinery explosions is to keep a close eye on routine maintenance throughout the plant. One missed maintenance assignment could mean that a problem goes unsolved and an explosion is the result.
If you have been the victim of a refinery accident, then contact an experienced lawyer immediately. Even if you think you do not have a lawsuit-worthy case, you can get information on what you should do next from a law firm that has experience in dealing with the aftermath of these types of accidents.
Jim Adler is the Tough, Smart Lawyer® and can be by your side if you ever find yourself involved in a refinery accident. Jim Adler has many years of experience as a competent work injury lawyer who can preserve your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.