Employees at oil refineries face dangerous work environments. Highly flammable liquids and gases under great pressure pose a considerable risk. These plants are vulnerable to deadly explosions, especially when the companies that own the plants fail to maintain or operate them safely.
Tesoro Oil Refinery in Anacortes
In Washington State, there are six oil refineries employing thousands of workers. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred at the refineries. For example, in April 2010, the Tesoro Oil Refinery in Anacortes suffered an explosion in which a heat exchanger ruptured releasing hydrocarbon vapor that ignited almost immediately. The explosion tragically killed seven workers.
It was subsequently discovered the ruptured heat exchangers involved in the massive explosion were nearly forty years old, and in addition to being subject to extreme heat and pressure, there was a near doubling of production over the years. In 1998, six workers died in an explosion at the same refinery.
[pullquote]”Tesoro’s lengthy list of willful violations include failing to inspect equipment consistent with recognized engineering practices and industry standards, failing to test for cracks and other defects in equipment prone to damage from thermal fatigue, chemical exposure, and failing to implement its own corrosion awareness and management program.” – L&I Press Release[/pullquote]
In 2009, the Tesoro refinery was fined $85,700 for safety violations that were deemed serious by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). These serious violations were later reduced to just three violations that resulted in a $13,850 settlement payment at a refinery with tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.
In October 2010 following the deadly April explosion, L&I released the findings of a six month investigation concluding the explosion could have been prevented and fining Tesoro $2.39 million. Tesoro was cited with 39 “willful” violations and five “serious” violations of workplace safety and health regulations.
Help for Serious Workplace Injuries
[pullquote]“This explosion and the deaths of these men and women would never have occurred had Tesoro tested their equipment in a manner consistent with standard industry practices, their own policies and state regulations.” Judy Schurke, director of L&I.[/pullquote]
Oil refineries are not the only workplaces with dangerous flammable and combustible materials. In April 2013, a massive explosion tragically killed fifteen and injured hundreds at a West, Texas fertilizer plant.
At Bishop Legal, we help protect the right to financial compensation for seriously injured victims of workplace incidents. We also represent grieving families in wrongful death cases. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oil refinery explosion or other workplace explosion, please contact our oil refinery explosion injury lawyers to discuss your case.