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Injured After an Oil Refinery Explosion?

Our Houston Refinery Accident Attorneys Can Help

Refinery Explosions

Although refinery explosions and fires should be relatively rare events, they occur more often than you would think. If you were severely injured in a refinery explosion, then it is vitally important to obtain experienced legal counsel. The oil company will do everything it can to limit your opportunity to seek a full financial settlement. They may also attempt to hide any evidence that portrays them in a negative light. When negligent safety practices cause an injury, we must investigate the accident scene and uncover any necessary proof. Our attorneys have experience representing oil refinery accident victims and will work hard to obtain the required evidence. We have a deep understanding of the petrochemical industry and can help you navigate the Texas legal system.

At Stevenson & Murray, we have represented personal injury victims for over three decades. Our attorneys pride themselves on treating every client with an exceptional level of consideration and care. For refinery accident victims, we know that no settlement or verdict will undo the past trauma you have experienced. However, we do know that it is important to hold the oil company responsible for their actions. If their action or inaction is deemed negligent, then we must ensure that they are adhering to the required regulations. Also, it is important that you receive financial compensation for your injuries. Your medical expenses will be substantial and may put your family in an uncomfortable financial position. Our Houston refinery accident attorneys understand the Texas legal system and know how to recover from an oil company. We will protect you from any intimidation tactics and make sure that you can afford your medical expenses.

How Does an Oil Refinery Operate?

A refinery separates raw crude oil into several components, known as fractions. They do this by taking advantage of the boiling point for each fraction. The process begins with a system called fractional distillation. This is where the crude oil is heated to around 720 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot liquid and vapors will enter a distillation column where the vapors cool as they rise. They will condense on collection trays at different heights. These liquids, such as kerosene, will be sent to other units for further processing. To make different types of fuel, you must manipulate the liquid molecules. By using a cracking unit, you can form a smaller chain that creates a heavier fuel. This is a basic overview showing us how an oil refinery makes different types of fuel.

You may assume that the most dangerous time for an oil refinery is when workers are producing fuel. However, during a refinery turnaround, more than 30,000 separate procedures are performed. Many people are tasked with moving explosive products in and out of position when the unit is being overhauled or updated. One mistake could result in an accident that causes you permanent physical damage. When a refinery is in transition, workers must be on high alert and follow safety procedures. During the spring months, refineries are typically knee deep in maintenance work, often hiring outside contractors, preparing for the summer’s heavy fuel demand. Our refinery accident attorneys will use this information when investigating the accident scene. We will make sure that the oil company is following proper safety protocol during the maintenance off-season.

What Are Common Causes of Oil Refinery Accidents?

While refinery turnarounds are particularly dangerous for oil workers, there are several common causes of oil refinery accidents. They include:

  • After being used for a certain period of time, the metal in equipment and machinery will begin to wear down. If regular inspections and maintenance are not performed, then the metal could weaken and corrode. In certain cases, the surrounding environment will begin oxidation after metal starts to corrode.
  • Dangerous chemicals. Federal regulations govern the quality and usage of chemicals in oil refineries. When an impure or dirty chemical is used, a dangerous chemical reaction can occur. This will typically result in a fire or explosion that causes mass casualties and severe injuries.
  • Electrical problems. When the electrical system in an oil refinery is not properly installed or maintained, workers can be exposed to abnormal levels of electricity. This can cause electrical burns and other life-threatening injuries.
  • Improper maintenance. If equipment, such as boilers, pressure vessels and storage tanks are not properly maintained, then deadly accidents can occur. You will likely experience a severe injury if an important piece of equipment is not adequately maintained.
  • Inadequate ventilation. Your employer must provide adequate ventilation and follow federal regulations when you are working. A lot of hazardous chemicals, flammable gases and vapors are contained within confined spaces at an oil refinery. Too much or too little oxygen could cause a dangerous fire or explosion to emerge.
  • Vehicle collisions. When operating heavy machinery, workers can crash into one another. Oil workers are often operating forklifts and other equipment in confined spaces. If proper protocol is not followed, then a serious injury or fatality could occur.

Oil Refinery Accident? Contact Our Houston Refinery Accident Attorneys Today

Although there are strict federal regulations overseeing oil refineries, severe accidents can and do still occur. While workers must follow safety protocol, there are times where the oil company is responsible for your injuries. Our Houston refinery accident attorneys will review your case and determine the percentage of negligence for the oil company.

If you were injured due to an oil refinery accident, then you should contact Stevenson & Murray today at (713) 622-3223 and schedule a consultation. You can also contact us online and tell us about your case. We promise to answer all of your legal questions and look forward to meeting with you soon.