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Common Hazards in Chemical Plants and Refineries

Posted on August 24, 2021 in

Individuals who work in chemical plants and refineries in Texas and throughout the US often operate in hazardous environments. This not only includes the dangers presented by the chemicals and substances used, but also the overall environment inside of a plant or refinery. The methods of extracting, processing, transporting, and refining chemicals and oil and natural gas are complicated. They pose great risks not only to workers but also to property.

Here, we want to discuss some of the most common hazards inside chemical plants and refineries. We also want to let any injury victims know that they need to work with a skilled Houston chemical plant explosion lawyer in the event they sustain an injury inside of a plant or refinery.

Fire and Explosion Hazards

One of the most common hazards inside of a chemical plant or refinery includes fire and explosion risks. At any given moment inside of a chemical plant or refinery, there are numerous flammable liquids and gases along with other toxic chemicals that could combust under the right circumstances.

It is crucial for all employees to be properly trained when it comes to handling all the equipment and substances that could result in a fire or explosion hazard. Additionally, gas and flame detection systems should be used in various locations throughout every chemical plant or refinery.

Hazardous Materials in the Atmosphere

The process of developing and refining chemicals can result in hazardous materials being released into the atmosphere where employees carry out day-to-day activities. Exposure to these hazardous chemicals can lead to incredibly dangerous health conditions, including contaminants coming into contact with a person’s skin, leading to corrosive burns or the chemicals seeping into a person’s bloodstream. Additionally, airborne contaminants can enter into a person’s respiratory system and lead to respiratory tract burns, lung damage, or the entrance of contaminants into a person’s system.

Confined Spaces

Chemical plants and refineries may be relatively large, but the areas where employees work can be very confined. This can include reactors, vessels, ducks, or tanks where a person may carry out their day-to-day duties. In the event supervisors and workers do not take necessary precautions when working in these confined spaces, this can lead to significant hazards. One of the main hazards related to working in confined spaces is the collection of hazardous airborne contaminants that lead to an oxygen deficiency. Additionally, confined spaces can heat up quickly, and they also present significant dangers in the event a fire or explosion occurs.

Shutdowns and Maintenance

Chemical plant and refinery companies are responsible for conducting regular inspections and maintenance of all equipment. This can include the cleaning of storage and processing units as well as any other equipment used in the refinery. These companies often spend a significant amount of money and time to implement maintenance processes because the turnaround needs to happen quickly so as to avoid refinery downtime.

However, it is often third-party contractors that come in and do the inspection and maintenance work. All contractors should be properly trained to handle the equipment inside of a chemical plant or refinery, and they should ensure that anything that they work on is properly operating before handing the operation of the equipment back over to the refinery employees.

Contact a Chemical Plant and Refinery Injury Attorney Today

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury inside of a chemical plant or refinery, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. At the Doan Law Firm, our refinery accident attorneys in Houston have decades of experience helping plant and refinery accident victims recover compensation for their losses. Yes, we know that these injuries should be covered by workers’ compensation, but that does not mean that employers and insurance carriers readily hand over the compensation victims need. It is not uncommon to need an attorney to conduct a complete investigation into the incident and aggressively negotiate with other parties involved to recover compensation for their clients. You can contact us for a free consultation or by calling (800) 349-0000.