Dealing with Refinery-Related Injuries

Working in a refinery is a dangerous job. With frequent accidents, some that can even be fatal, jobs in this field come with great risk. Whether the work is dangerous on its own, or there were failed safety checks, it is not uncommon for a worker in a refinery to result in serious injury. When you throw in a natural disaster into the mix, these plants become even more dangerous.

Hurricane Harvey is still causing damages in the Houston area. So far, due to the effects of the storm, there have been two reported explosions on chemical plants in Crosby, Texas. This city, located just 30 miles northeast from the center of Houston, has experienced the sheer brutality of this storm. One sheriff’s deputy was even sent to the hospital because he inhaled the toxic chemicals that resulted from these explosions.

The Arkema SA plant was surrounded by flooding. This plant could only be accessed by boat and had lost all power. Because of this loss of power, the organic peroxides heated up to dangerous levels which caused the explosion and the release of toxic gas and smoke. According to CNBC, a 1.5-mile radius around the plant had to be evacuated. Furthermore, beyond those who evacuated, people were told to steer clear of the plants in the area, due to the risk of more explosions.

Certain chemicals found commonly in refineries must remain at cold temperatures to avoid catching fire. With the loss of power from the storm, it is crucial for these organic peroxides to remain cool, otherwise more fires will be produced throughout the affected areas of the storm.

Regardless of the effects of a storm, the fragile nature of the chemicals in plants and refineries is a recipe for disaster. As Williams Kherkher points out, “the big oil companies typically have a team of insurance employees on the side,” so it is going to be a tough battle if a lawsuit ensues. However, work-related accidents typically have given more power to you than you think. With strict safety rules, updates, and regulations, it is very common for the plant to be at fault.

Experience is a good quality to look for when deciding which law firm you should choose to represent you in a court of law. Serious injury is a huge deal, your injuries can prevent you from working, caring for your family, and much more, so it is important to get the compensation you deserve. While lawsuits might feel tedious, complex, and tiresome, they are sometimes the final step you need to take if you have been injured on the job.

It is important to remember that you should act quickly, while your injuries are still present so you can present a case. Even you believe that your accident was caused by your own wrongdoing, there is no harm in looking into a lawsuit, because you may be surprised at the results.

Making sure that the Right People are Hired for the Right Job

According to the US Department of Labor, prior to the passing into law of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) in 1970, 10 per 100 employees were injured at work daily, while the number of work-related death averaged to 38 every day.

Making sure that every working environment is healthy and safe for all types of employees – the main thrust of OSH Act that is strictly enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA (founded in 1971 as an offshoot of OSH Act) – caused a major change in the yearly rate of workplace injuries and fatalities, especially on the side of the private sector. Thus, because of OSH Act, the number of daily fatalities has been significantly lowered to 12, while the number of injuries has gone down to three per 100 employees.

Considering the fact, however, that majority of workplace accidents are actually consequences of employer or employee negligence, lack of care, or failure to perform one’s duty in keeping the working environment safe from any risk of accident, 12 deaths and 3 injuries per 100 employees every day is not only still high, but this would also translate to millions of dollars in compensation.

Compensating workers who sustain injuries that are work related or who develop illnesses due to their work (a very common occurrence among those who are regularly exposed to hazardous chemicals) began during the early part of the 1900s. The cash benefit awarded to workers is approved and paid by the Workers’ Compensation insurance program, which is mandated and administered by the state.

The cash benefit is intended to cover cost of medical treatment, hospitalization, lost wages (due to days away from work), rehabilitation and required expenses in case of employee death. Workers’ Comp benefit is awarded to employees who get injured or ill, regardless or whose fault their injury or illness is; however, if their injury was self-inflicted, a result of working while drunk or due to a violation of the standards of safety imposed by the company or state, then they will lose the chance of qualifying for this benefit.

Workplace injury is a persistent problem in many working environments all across the nation. While employee and employer negligence are major factors in the occurrence of accidents that result to injuries, other significant reasons include lack of employee training on company and state rules on workplace safety, employers failing to strictly impose company policies on how to keep the workplace free from risks of accident, and putting employees in job positions where they do not really possess the required interest, skills and patience. This last factor is one of the most common roots of hazards in the workplace, as well as the frequent reason for fast employee turnover and higher Workers’ Comp premiums due to high compensation claims, among others.

While many employers still linger in trying to find the best means in finding the right people for the available job, others have obviously made great strides towards increased production which convert to high profits for the company. This means answers which translate to decreased rate in employee hiring and firing, safer working environment, reduced lost time and incidences of fraud and abuse; decreased incidences of absenteeism, reduced costs of group health insurance package, and smaller workers’ compensation premiums. The strategy is simple: determining the qualifications and suitability of applicants and through pre-employment screening.

This means hiring people who possess the knowledge, skills, stamina, interest and personality demanded by the job.

The website of the LaMarca Law Group, P.C. says injured workers have a basic right to receive the financial benefits provided by the Workers’ Comp program. The firm also mentions, though, the financial difficulties that workers may suffer due to lost wages, especially if their injury is too severe that it would require “several days to several weeks off of work.”

Other than just earnings potential, an employee should first think of safety and, rather than just filling job vacancies, employers should make sure that they have the right people for the job.