Wisconsin Oil Refinery Explosion Lawyer
Refinery and Chemical Industry Accident Lawyer
The recent explosions and fires at the Husky refinery in Superior, WI and
the Valero facility in Texas City remind us that, although refineries
have very good safety records, refinery accidents and accident injuries
are back in the news. In this article, the refinery accident injury lawyer at the
Doan Law Firm will discuss the causes of such accidents and the types of injuries that
a worker may sustain after these accidents.
Causes of refinery explosions and fires
There are literally hundreds of possible causes of refinery explosions
and fires. Analysis of mandatory accident reports filed with the Occupational
Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) following refinery accidents reveals
that the causes of such accidents can be usually be assigned to one of
three general categories.
Contaminated (“dirty”) chemicals
Chemicals used in the manufacturing process must be as free as possible
of any contamination or impurities. In fact, many explosions and/or fires
are caused by “runaway” chemical reactions at some stage of
normal production processes. If “dirty” chemicals cause an
industrial accident, both the plant operator and the supplier of such
chemicals can be held liable for any damages that may occur.
Inadequate or improper maintenance
Because they routinely use systems that operate at extreme temperatures
and pressures, refineries and chemical plants must constantly monitor
the status of their manufacturing systems. This includes routine inspections
and regular preventive maintenance. Should an operator fail to perform
these actions, it may be seen as evidence of negligence and expose the
operator to liability in the event of an accident.
Violations of established safety policies
Every refinery and chemical plant must follow the guidelines set forth
by OSHA and other regulatory agencies. These guidelines specify the minimum
standards that refinery and plant operators are required to follow when
implementing both company-wide and site-specific workplace safety policies.
Each plant operator is free to impose standards that are stricter than
those set forth by government regulatory agencies. Failure to comply with
all relevant safety standards places the plant’s operator at risk
of being held liable for the consequences of explosions and/or fires.
Types of injuries in refinery accidents
If there are hundreds of causes of refinery/chemical plant accidents, there
are thousands of injuries that can result from such accidents. For our
purposes, we can place these injuries into general categories.
Burn injuries are a frequently occur in refinery and chemical plant accidents.
These injuries can be of one or more types.
- Thermal burns are those that are caused by heat from a fire or by exposure
to hot gasses such as steam.
- Chemical burns occur when the skin is exposed to contact with caustic substances
such as strong acids or alkalines.
- Electrical burns are caused by the passage of an electrical current through
the body. Unlike other types of burns that primarily affect the skin,
electrical burns often cause damage to deeper body organs and structures
such as muscle, tendons, and bones. Electrical burns can be very difficult
to treat and may require months of rehabilitation before an injured worker
can return to work.
Injuries to bones, such as fractures and dislocations, are commonly seen
with explosions and after an employee falls from heights.
Brain and spinal injuries
Injuries to the central nervous system are frequently due to direct trauma
such as explosions, motorized vehicle accidents or falls. Injuries of
this type frequently lead to long term disability or even death.
Hazardous substance exposure
Exposure to hazardous substances can be either acute (causing immediate
injury) or chronic (repeated exposure over time, with symptoms appearing
some time later). Due to the fact that these substances can produce a
variety of symptoms, injuries of this type may be difficult to diagnose.
Chronic exposure injuries
These injuries occur when a worker is exposed to relatively small amounts
of toxic substances over a long period of time. Although the exposure
may not cause symptoms at the time, repeated exposure can cause a buildup
of the toxin over time and may not cause symptoms until years later. In
addition to on-the-job exposure injuries involving workers, chronic exposure
injuries may also occur in those residents of areas that are downwind
or downstream of a refinery or some similar operation.
Contact a refinery accident injury lawyer to protect your rights
Although they are more “newsworthy” and thus attract the attention
of the national media, major industrial accidents such as Thursday’s
explosion and fire at Husky’s Superior refinery or last week’s
explosion at Valero’s Texas City facility are relatively rare. In
fact, most fatal accidents at refineries and chemical plants are caused
by employee falls or crush injuries that occur while working with heavy
Regardless of the causes and types of injuries, workers who have been injured
in a refinery accident should speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon
as possible after their accident. One such refinery accident lawyer can
be contacted at the
Doan Law Firm, a nationwide personal injury law practice.
speak with our refinery accident lawyer, your initial consultation is always free and without obligation. Should
you decide to have our firm represent you, we are willing to assume responsibility
for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage
of the final settlement that we will win for you.