Texas leads the US in oil refining, accounting for almost one-third of the nation’s total capacity. More than 21 percent of all refineries are located within the state, and 10 of the 29 are in the Greater Houston area. Companies like LyondellBasell, Valero, Black Elk, and Calumet Penreco employ thousands of workers, and many more are employed at the Motiva refinery, the largest refinery in North America. These employees support Texas in producing almost 6 million barrels of crude oil daily, but the workplace is extremely dangerous. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that refinery accidents are common, and oil and gas workers in Texas report around 3,000 cases of workplace injuries annually.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a refinery accident, you may qualify for legal remedies. The details vary according to your unique circumstances, but compensation is available for injured employees. Our team at Husain Law & Associates, P.C. can assist with pursuing all available options, so please contact us to set up a free consultation with a Houston refinery accident attorney. A summary is also helpful.
Causes Behind Refinery Injuries in the Greater Houston Area
Refinery workers are tasked with processing crude oil so that it can be converted into gasoline, heating oil, and other petroleum products. As a result, explosions and other releases of hazardous energy are the biggest risks. The machinery involves miles of piping, scaffoldings, and other structures, and an enormous amount of built-up pressure. Plus, employees are often working with heavy equipment and often at extreme heights.
Refinery injuries are common when employers fail to:
Comply with regulations and standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA);
Conduct regular inspections of the refinery space and equipment;
Ensure all employees are properly trained on equipment and safety procedures, especially lockout/tagout policies;
Make necessary repairs to equipment, tools, and structures;
Implement railings, barriers, toe guards, and other fall protection measures;
Establish policies for working on ladders, scaffolding, and platforms; and,
Supply personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees working in certain hazardous conditions.
Serious Injuries to Refinery Workers
With the most catastrophic refinery accident being explosions, you know that burns and related injuries are a significant threat. Depending on the degree of burn, multiple layers of skin, muscle, and other tissue can be destroyed. Burns are also prone to infection, which means longer periods of hospitalization and recovery. In addition, employees may suffer other serious bodily harm in a refinery accident, including:
Vision and hearing loss from an extreme explosion;
Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, herniated and bulging spinal discs, and bursitis.
Legal Options for Employees
The majority of refinery accidents are covered by workers’ compensation. Though Texas law does not require employers to carry insurance, most do have policies to protect refinery workers. You do not need to prove that your employer was at fault, but you must be a covered employee who was hurt in a workplace accident while performing job duties. Our Houston refinery injury lawyers will guide you through the claims process, since you may qualify for:
Medical costs for treatment, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, and related care;
Wage replacement for the days you miss work;
Amounts for total or partial disability, on a temporary or permanent basis; and,
Death benefits, if you are the surviving family member of a refinery worker who was killed in an accident.
Workers’ comp is your sole remedy in most cases, so you cannot sue your employer in court after a refinery accident. However, you might be able to seek civil remedies if your injuries were the result of a third party’s actions. For instance, you might have grounds to pursue the manufacturer of defective refinery equipment. Husain Law + Associates P.C. can explain details since it is to your advantage if a lawsuit is a possible remedy in your case. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, you can recover damages for pain and suffering.
Trust Our Houston Refinery Injury Lawyers to Pursue All Available Options
This information about your rights and remedies after a workplace accident is helpful, but it should also convince you that retaining legal representation is critical. To learn how we can assist, please call 713-800-1200 or go online to reach Nomaan K. Husain at Husain Law & Associates, P.C. We are happy to schedule a no-cost consultation with a Houston refinery accident lawyer.
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