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Steven M. Lee, PC

Oil Refinery Dangers and Injury Compensation You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Make sure the insurance company treats you fairly after a Texas refinery accidentOil remains a staple of the Texas economy. Anyone who says Texas is out of the oil business hasn’t taken a basic look. Although we may not be bringing as much oil up from the ground as we once did, our state continues to manufacture over two million barrels of gasoline a day through the work of oil refineries. Some notably profitable purifiers in the state include:

  • Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown. At capacity, can refine 562,500 barrels of oil a day.
  • Exxon Mobil refinery in Beaumont. At capacity, can refine 348,500 barrels of oil a day.
  • BP refinery in Texas City. At capacity, can refine 417,000 barrels of oil a day.
  • Shell Deer Park refinery in Deer Park. A capacity, can refine 333,700 barrels of oil a day.
  • Flint Hill refinery in Corpus Christi. At capacity, can refine 288,126 barrels of oil a day.
  • Motiva refinery in Port Arthur. At capacity, can refine 285,000 barrels of oil a day.

While all the talk about new energy sources and alternative energy development is fine, it doesn’t look as if Americans will stop using oil and gas anytime soon. It is because of this need that thousands of Texans put their lives on the line to go to work every day in our oil refineries.

Oil Refinery Dangers

Oil refinement is a process that breaks down crude oil into gasoline, petroleum, and other oil-based products through an intense and dangerous purification process. Therefore, although working in an oil refinery is necessary work, it should never be forgotten that it also carries with it a unique set of risks. In addition to respiratory ailments suffered by inhaling toxic fumes, refinery workers are also in jeopardy of suffering:

  • Burns. To separate molecules from the crude oil base, many refineries rely on Coker units to heat the oil to a point of decomposition, around 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This amount of heat can easily cause nearby workers to suffer extreme burns. Whether they touch the Coker unit itself, get splashed with decomposing oil, or be unfortunate enough to be in the blast radius if the oil catches on fire, second to third-degree burns are inevitable.
  • Explosions. Part of refining oil requires the extraction of extremely flammable hydrogen molecules. As a result of this extraction, even the slightest spark can cause the molecules to combust and create an extensive explosion.
  • Gas exposure. When crude oil is broken down, gasses are released that eventually cool and condense back into a purer liquid form. However, before they condense, these gasses—including hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur dioxide—may escape from their containers and be inhaled by passing workers.
  • Chemical exposure. During the refining process, components of the crude oil are manipulated and combined with other chemicals. Some of these byproducts are dangerously unstable and can erode through their containers. Other products of the oil cracking process can damage skin or lungs, or cause industrial illness to exposed workers.

Liability and Compensation

What happens when a worker is hurt in a refinery? Quite often, the company or its insurer will offer a settlement that completely disregard the cause of the accident,

Rather than focusing on the company’s responsibility or on how the incident could have been avoided, insurance companies frequently place their cost analysis elsewhere—on your liability and the lowest average amount paid for injuries like yours. For example, instead of offering a settlement to compensate for employer or equipment fault, companies may try to pass the blame onto you, thus limiting their liability. Once they have you doubting who is to blame, they’ll say that your injuries are only worth a relatively tiny amount. This settlement offer won’t cover what you need or deserve, but the insurance company hopes that you’ll accept it to avoid further negotiation.

If you accept the measly settlement, you will have to sign a waiver before you get a check. This legal document relieves the refinery and their insurers of any and all future responsibilities. If you can’t go back to work? Not their problem. If you can’t sleep at night or you suffer ongoing excruciating pain? Not their problem. If the settlement doesn’t cover your medical bills? Not their problem.

If it’s not their problem, whose problem is it? They’ll say it’s yours, but if you pick up the phone and dial the office of attorney Steve Lee, we’ll make it our problem—and with nearly 40 years of experience, we’re very good at solving problems.

Hiring injury lawyer Steve Lee is a certain way to show your employers that you mean business and aren’t intimidated by their tactics. Steve Lee has a statewide reputation as an attorney who fights hard for his clients, and he brings years of skill at negotiating and litigating to the table. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident at an oil refinery, contact our office at 1-800-232-3711 today, and see how we can help you get a fair and justifiable settlement.


Steven M. Lee
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