Plant and refineries are a common sight throughout Texas and the nation as a sign of a booming economy and ever-growing industrial sector. Unfortunately, with these numerous facilities, serious accidents can occur—such as explosions, fires, and other catastrophic incidents. Take, for example, the 2005 explosion in Texas City, or the 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. While these sorts of accidents are happening with seemingly more and more frequency, there is not one answer to what causes them. In some cases, it may have to do directly with human behavior; in other cases, it may come indirectly or not at all.
Some of the most common causes of plant explosions include:
- Improper Maintenance: Plants and refineries depend on the functioning of their equipment. If this equipment is not kept up to standards-should it fail, it can result in catastrophic accidents. This could be anything from boilers, to pressure vessels, to alarms, to storage tanks. Equipment which has weakened or stopped working entirely cannot do its job, and therefore cannot keep workers safe.
- Unseen Corrosion: Metal is constantly being worn down during the everyday processes of a plant or refinery. Unfortunately, due care is not always taken to ensure that metal has not weakened and is still performing at its peak. When metal goes unchecked, it can begin to wear down and corrode. In some cases, the surrounding environment can even begin oxidation.
- Dirty / Impure Chemicals. The mixture of chemicals is central to most operations at plants and refineries. To ensure the safety of all employees, there are strict regulations regarding what type of chemicals can be used, and the quality of such chemicals. When impure or dirty chemicals are used, it can lead to unforeseen consequences-such as undesirable chemical reactions.
- Violation of OSHA Safety Regulations. To regulate industrial workplaces, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put into place stringent regulations which are used to help enhance worker safety. Unfortunately, these are not always adhered to. When violations are made, either through intentional or negligent actions, the employees are the ones who suffer.
If you were injured in a plant explosion, you deserve to have your legal rights fully protected. At Penn and Seaborn, we have been involved in cases involving catastrophic incidents such as this before, and have seen the tragedies that can happen as a result. If you are looking to discuss your case with a legal professional, we’ve made it easy. Simply give our firm a call at (334) 738-4486 for a free confidential consultation or visit our online contact form to submit a message to us directly. We look forward to hearing from you.