Nearly 10,000 accidents occur in oil refineries all around America each year.
While oil refineries are necessary when it comes to producing gas and other petroleum products, employees who work for these businesses are in constant danger. Many of the oil refineries in this country have very strict safety policies, but this doesn’t always prevent accidents from happening.
In the recent Husky Energy refinery explosion in Wisconsin, around 20 employees were injured. With the help of a Husky refinery accident lawyer, these employees can get the compensation they need to get back on their feet. Many of the injuries sustained in these explosions are long-term, which means these workers will be unable to go back to their jobs.
Read below to find out about some of the most common causes of oil refinery accidents.
The Chemicals in These Plants are Very Dangerous
Many of the oil refineries out there use a variety of different chemicals. These chemicals are used to breakdown the crude oil so it can be transformed into other goods. Using these chemicals helps the workers in these types of businesses get their job done in a hurry, but they can also be quite dangerous.
The high level of volatility these chemicals have can lead to them igniting or even causing respiratory problems for workers. Generally, the employees who work with these chemicals will have strict guidelines from their employers. These guidelines are drafted in an attempt to keep workers out of harm’s way while on the clock.
The Dangers of Heavy Equipment
One of the first things you will notice when entering an oil refinery is the overwhelming number of large machines at work. These machines do everything from transport the crude oil to heating it up during the refinement process.
Working around this heavy machinery on a daily basis can make a person forget about just how hazardous they can be. Losing sight of this danger is a disaster waiting to happen. Avoiding machinery-related accidents is easy when properly training employees. All employees should undergo an OSHA training program to be aware of the workplace hazards, which will prevent fatalities and accidents.
Explosions are Quite Common
Another dangerous aspect of working in an oil refinery is the constant threat of explosions. Due to the high volume of combustible materials in these refineries, the element of danger is always looming overhead. When workers fail to follow proper safety protocols, accidents tend to happen.
Not only will these protocols need to be followed, management in these refineries have to make sure the equipment being used by their employees is in good shape. Typically, oil refineries will shut down multiple times a year to perform routine maintenance. In the past, refinery explosions were mostly caused by worn-out or obsolete equipment.
Fires Can Create a Lot of Damage
Explosions typically cause the most damage to an oil refinery and its employees, but fire is a close second. Flammable materials and improper safety procedures are also the leading cause of fires in these types of businesses. Most refineries have an extensive amount of fire protection equipment nearby to stomp out these fires quickly.
The only way to avoid oil refinery accidents if by following all safety guidelines that are in place. Regulatory agencies like OSHA make it their mission to keep workers safe by inspecting the environment they work in.