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What are the Common Causes of Pipeline Explosions?

Posted on September 27, 2021 in

Pipeline transportation is an incredibly important part of the infrastructure of this country. Pipelines are crucial when it comes to ensuring that oil or natural gas can get from oil fields to refineries and to distribution centers. However, pipelines also present significant dangers when it comes to explosions. Not only could an explosion cause serious injuries to workers or others nearby, but it could also lead to massive environmental degradation. Here, we want to discuss the most common causes of pipeline explosions in the US.

1. Improper installation of equipment or pipelines

All pipelines should be installed only by skilled technicians to ensure that they are properly constructed. Improper installation, including poor welding of a pipeline, can lead to major leaks that could cause an explosion. Additionally, failure to install emergency shutoff valves is another major problem that could turn an otherwise small incident into a major explosion.

2. Excavation work near a pipeline

Any type of excavation work near a pipeline can damage the pipelines and the safety of the equipment around the pipeline. This can lead to major leaks that could cause explosions. Even a small puncture or dent could lead to a major leak from the pipeline. Excavation damage may not be the fault of the company that operates a pipeline. This could be entirely the fault of a construction contractor who failed to properly identify the location of a pipeline, which is required by regulations before beginning excavation work of any kind.

3. Defective safety equipment

The actual pipeline itself is not the only problem when it comes to explosions. These pipelines come with a variety of apparatus designed to ensure safety. All equipment around the pipeline must also be installed properly and regularly inspected and maintained.

4. Lapses in inspections or maintenance

Pipelines, joints, meters, service lines, and gas mains are all subject to falling apart as they age. Wear and tear will occur, which is why pipeline owners and operators have to conduct regular inspections and maintenance. Failing to adhere to a regular maintenance schedule could lead to major explosions if a leak occurs.

5. Failing to respond

When pipeline owners or operators learn about a potentially dangerous situation along the pipeline itself, they have to respond in a timely manner. If there is any concern about a leak, and the leak is not addressed, a potentially preventable explosion could become a disaster.

6. Failing to properly train

It is crucial for pipeline owners and operators to comply with standards set forth by state regulators and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Compliance with both OSHA and company safety standards will be nearly impossible if employees are not properly trained. It does not matter whether a person is a new hire or a veteran of the pipeline industry; there should be continual training about safety standards.

Working With an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured or sustained property damage as a result of a pipeline explosion, you need to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. These cases can become incredibly complex, particularly when dealing with aggressive insurance carriers and pipeline companies. A pipeline explosion attorney in Houston will be able to examine the facts of your case, gather the evidence needed to prove liability, and help you recover maximum compensation for your losses.

Contact The Doan Law Firm for your free consultation.