If you live in Houston, it probably seems like every few months there is a major incident (plant explosion) at one of our many chemical plants. For many people, when they think about Houston, the first thought that comes to mind is the oil and gas industry and the good economy we enjoy as a result. Unfortunately, what many people may not realize is that the Houston/Baytown/Huntsville area of Texas is home to more than 400 different chemical plants.
Although these plants provide many job opportunities, they also come with a major downside: chemical and petroleum plants can be very dangerous places to work or live around. To illustrate this point, since an incident at a DuPont plant in the Houston area in November of 2014 (which killed 4 people), there have been at least 10 plant explosion incidents in Houston and the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, two incidents have occurred very recently—one in January and one in March of 2016—both of which happened in Pasadena, Texas.
In January of 2016, a PeroxyChem plant exploded in Pasadena, injuring 3 workers and killing 1 contractor. The Pasadena Fire Marshal’s Office believes the cause of the explosion may have been an over pressurized tank. More recently, just 2 months ago on March 5th, a Pasadena Refining Systems plant exploded, causing a worker to suffer burn injuries on his hands.
Although the PeroxyChem plant was inspected in December of 2014 by OSHA who found no violations, the Pasadena Refining Systems plant had received at least 9 citations from OSHA for previous violations. In fact, Mike Boydston, a person who has worked in the industry for over 16 years, said “Everybody knows that place [Pasadena Refining Systems] is a ticking time bomb,” illustrating the point that even though a plant is known to be dangerous, the plants are allowed to continue operating.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles yearly data into summaries that detail the number of fatal and nonfatal injuries or illnesses in a given industry. In 2014, there were 27 reported fatalities in the chemical manufacturing industry, the highest number of fatalities in the industry in the last 4 years. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the petroleum manufacturing industry only had 5 reported fatalities, the lowest number in the industry for the past 4 years. The reality is that some of these deaths may have been preventable if companies would put safety first.
While some chemical plants value the safety of their employees, contractors, and the people who live nearby, other times all the company cares about is their profit margin. At the Merman Law Firm, we cannot accept the fact that any amount of money in profit is more important than the life of a human being. That is why we fight the big plant owners on behalf of the employees and contractors that work for them so they can get the money they deserve for their injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a plant explosion, you need an experienced attorney like Derek Merman to represent you. Derek Merman has years of experience representing victims of plant explosions and chemical releases and he will fight hard for you so that you can get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us now.