refinery and plant explosions

It’s no secret that Texas produces a heavy portion of not just the country’s but the world’s oil and gas resources. Houston specifically leads the country as a global powerhouse with the capability to produce 2.6 million barrels of crude oil per day across its 10 oil refineries and multiple chemical plants. That factors out to Houston being responsible for 45.1% of the state’s total oil production and 13.8% of the nation’s. Even for a city like Houston, the task of carrying the nation’s oil and gas industry on its back is no small feat. The hundreds of thousands of workers who enter into the Gulf Coast’s numerous plants and refineries are the reason Houston and Texas are able to achieve such outputs; however, it comes at a great cost to workers and their loved ones.


Oil refineries and chemical plants are extremely dangerous workplaces when proper safety regulations and routine maintenance are not followed. Even when routine maintenance and safety precautions are being followed, chemicals and other factors can still put workers lives at risk, furthering the importance of taking all steps necessary to ensure workers’ safety. While accidents happen, the majority of all fires and explosions can be traced back to one of three categories:

Improper Maintenance

Oil refineries and chemical plants contain millions of materials that require routine maintenance in order to work properly. When appropriate personnel fail to not only inspect, but also report and follow-up on damaged materials, workers lives are put at risk. Unfortunately, many plants and refineries fail to routinely inspect and care for equipment due to the economic cost of shutting down sections for maintenance. The irony is the catastrophic damage caused by an accident at a plant or refinery would cause a much greater economic loss than the maintenance that could have prevented it.

Improper Storage

Flammable materials and chemicals require special storage to ensure they remain pure and out of contact with other materials that may ignite. Along with proper maintenance, storage facilities that house sensitive materials and chemicals should be routinely cared for. Because of the nature of the products being refined, the smallest error can lead to deadly combustion or the release of toxic and/or flammable chemicals.

Impure Chemicals

The chemicals used at various refineries and plants require a method of “cleaning” to prevent explosions or other injuries. When personnel fail to treat chemicals in a process known as scrubbing, they take the chance of contaminating other areas of the refinery or plant. All chemicals being used at a plant or refinery must be up to code for processing due to the domino-like reaction that can result from dirty chemicals coming into contact with one another.

Improper Safety Training

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), companies operating oil refineries and chemical plants must adhere to federally outlined safety regulations that aim to minimize the risks associated with day-to-day life at oil refineries and chemical plants. When companies fail to follow federal laws concerning employees’ safety, they are knowingly putting their employees lives in harm’s way. When companies fail to send employees to proper training classes and implement daily safety procedures, workers suffer injuries from dangerous accidents.

Texas Refinery and Plant Explosion Lawyers

The attorneys at Adame Garza appreciate the major role the oil and gas industry plays in the lives of most Houstonians, and we value the hard work employees of refineries and chemical plants do daily. We believe all workers have the right to a safe work environment, and should not have to compromise their personal safety for a paycheck. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed as a result of a chemical plant, refinery explosion, or workplace fire, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a confidential case consultation at no cost.