Refinery Plant Explosions

Last updated on: June 11, 2015


In March of 2005, Texas City was rocked by a refinery explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 more.  The explosion occurred when a hydrocarbon vapor cloud exploded at the ISOM isomerization process unit at a BP plant.  The Texas City refinery involved was the second largest oil refinery in the state and the third largest in the entire United States.  This massive explosion triggered investigations on a state and federal level.  Investigations concluded that a series of organizational failures, including poor maintenance, failure to invest in the plant infrastructure, corporate cost-cutting, a lack of corporate oversight, inadequate training of operators, lack of competent supervisors, and ineffective work procedures all combined to cause the fatal accident.  

The oil and petrochemical refinery business has long been considered one of the most dangerous industries to work in, a fact highlighted by the number of refinery explosions that have occurred in recent years.  Our world’s demand for oil has created a damaging attitude of profits over worker safety, despite the efforts of OSHA to enhance safety practices.  

Other major refinery explosions include a 1984 explosion that killed 19, a 1988 Louisiana explosion that caused 3,000 residents to evacuate, and most recently a 2010 explosion that killed seven.  In each of these explosions, negligence, often traced to a lack of maintenance or cost-cutting practices, was believed to contribute to the explosion.

Preventing Refinery Explosions

All too often, refinery explosions are, at least in part, the result of the reluctance of the company to invest in repairs and replacement of defective equipment.  For instance, the 2005 Texas refinery explosion was traced, in part, to corroded pipes that burst and spewed dangerous chemicals into the air.  Alarm systems at the plant were further malfunctioning, preventing the danger from being recognized before an explosion could occur.  These were just some instances of the mass negligence that gave rise to that deadly explosion.  

Prevention of refinery accidents requires the utmost of care and diligence in the handling of chemicals and all equipment that is used in the refinery process.  All flammable liquids must be safely stored in compliance with federal and company policy.  Tanks and containers should be regularly inspected and pressure checked routinely to catch any increases in gas levels.  Buildings that are not protected in the event of an explosion should be kept away from hazardous areas.  

A number of federal rules govern the training and safety procedures that must be followed at a refinery.  Workers must be trained in all safety procedures in order to enable them to prevent refinery explosions.  Employers must maintain proper alarm systems to warn of dangerous situations.  Adequate staffing is imperative in order to ensure working conditions are safe, as inadequate staffing could lead to missed inspections, poor maintenance, and other harmful behaviors that lead to refinery explosions.  

Contact Zinda Law Group Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation  

Texas is home to a number of refinery plants that hold the potential to inflict deadly injuries in the event of an explosion.   If you have been injured or experienced property damage due to a plant explosion, the Texas Plant Explosion Attorneys at Zinda Law Group are here to help.  Our experienced attorneys offer the skilled assistance you need to obtain your maximum compensation.  Our talented attorney team offers a free consultation to new clients and has several convenient office locations in Austin and across Texas.  Do not delay in seeking legal assistance as your right to file a claim following any plant explosion is time sensitive.  Call Zinda Law Group toll free at 800-863-5312 to start us fighting for your full recovery.