Jason Stephens | March 24, 2023 | Personal Injury
A chemical plant explosion can change hundreds of lives in the span of a second. Whether the explosion causes the death of a loved one or seriously maims them, these occurrences are serious situations that demand accountability from those responsible.
All of the following ailments have resulted from chemical plant explosions:
If you or a loved one have been injured in a chemical plant explosion in Texas that was the result of someone else’s negligence, it is crucial that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
In addition to seeking immediate medical treatment, it is important to know your rights so you can strategize a path toward holding those responsible accountable.
Understanding why chemical plant explosions happen provides crucial insight into the legal recourse available to victims and their families. It also sheds light on what recourse is available so that you and your loved ones can be made whole after such an egregious event.
Chemical Processing Plants
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that 850,000 people across the United States are employed at one of the nation’s 20,000 chemical processing plants.
Although they process a wide variety of chemicals, the substances produced in these facilities can be divided into seven primary types:
- Pesticides, fertilizer, and other agricultural chemicals
- Filaments, synthetic fibers, resin, and synthetic rubber
- Soap and other cleaning chemicals
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Paint and other coatings
Each type of factory must adhere to protocols designed to keep employees and the public safe. However, sometimes things fall through the cracks and workers do not follow all safety procedures. When this happens, it can lead to disaster.
A chemical plant explosion constitutes a serious accident. There are roughly 15 deaths every year caused by explosions at chemical processing sites throughout the United States. Beyond deaths, workers at chemical plants can be injured and require medical treatment that can keep them off the job for weeks or months.
The BLS estimates that over 900 chemical plant workers are injured in Texas annually. The Houston Chronicle published a study concluding that there was a chemical plant explosion once every six weeks.
When it comes to chemical plant explosions and related accidents, there are two national agencies responsible for investigating: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).
According to the CSB, the most severe chemical plant explosion event to have rocked the Lone Star State occurred on October 23, 1989.
Known as the Phillips Disaster, this accident involved a series of explosions at the Houston Chemical Complex (HCC), which belonged to the Phillips Petroleum Company. By the time the explosions subsided, there were 23 people dead and 314 injured.
Another notable chemical plant explosion in Texas was the LyondellBasell release in LaPorte, where two people died and 30 were injured. Additionally, the Wendland 1H well explosion in Burleson County killed three people at the gas well.
The CSB has published a comprehensive list of chemical plant explosions in Texas.
Most of the injuries and accidents at chemical plants are due to explosions. However, they can also be caused by burns, slip and fall accidents, or chemical poisoning. Many of these accidents can be attributed to four main causes.
Because the chemicals they process are so volatile, the equipment used in chemical processing facilities must be constructed to exact specifications. If one component isn’t measured correctly, things could easily take a turn for the worse.
Any defects mean that the equipment may not function properly, which could result in an explosion, fire, or another problem.
Rules are important. That’s why most chemical plants enforce proper procedures and require their employees to adhere to established protocols. However, employees don’t always follow the rules. When this happens, people can get hurt. Whoever is liable depends on how they violated the rules and procedures.
Statistically, the BLS estimates that human error is responsible for 74% of industrial accidents.
Maintenance is one of the most important responsibilities at any chemical processing facility. If plant equipment is not properly maintained, which includes cleaning and repairs, accidents are more likely to occur.
Many companies schedule regular inspections so that they can identify issues before they get out of hand. However, some companies habitually fail to keep their equipment maintained in accordance with industry standards.
Unfortunately, situations involving improper maintenance are likely to result in an explosion, fire, or some other incident that risks the lives of employees and bystanders alike.
Inadequate Safety Training
Companies are responsible for instituting comprehensive safety training and equipping their employees with the tools required to keep each other safe. When a company fails to properly train its employees, the results can be catastrophic.
No matter what kind of chemicals the facility produces, there should be an established safety protocol that all employees are required to adhere to. Beyond merely telling employees to follow a rule, the company should ensure that employees understand what the consequences will be if they fail to adhere to instructions.
Can a Lawyer Help?
If you or a loved one has been injured by a chemical plant explosion in Texas, you need someone who can advocate for your compensation.
A lawyer with a solid background in holding companies accountable for their violations of safety regulations and other protocols will understand how to deal with the situation and can take a lot of stress off your plate while you’re recovering from your injuries.
A competent attorney will understand how to file a claim based on your grievances so that you can hold the chemical processing company responsible for any negligence on its part.
Knowing about chemical plant explosions in Texas will help you adhere to proper safety protocols and understand what red flags you should look for in and around these facilities.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107