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December 1st, 2009

OSHA Refinery Sweep Shows Why Explosions and Accidents are so Frequent

As Texas refinery explosion lawyers, we have been very concerned about the corrective measures that federal regulators seem to take after accidents and injuries have occurred, instead of taking preventative measures to avert any adverse events . The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a poor record of refinery inspections. In the last 10 years, the agency has conducted only a handful of inspections for the 150-odd refineries in the country.

So, as Texas refinery explosion attorneys, we weren’t surprised when a nationwide sweep of oil refineries turned up far more violations than OSHA regulators expected. According to the Wall Street Journal, the agency inspected 86 refineries. It has, so far, found 930 violations and issued $4.8 million in citations. The OSHA National Emphasis Program or NEP was launched in 2007 to inspect oil refineries.  The initiative came after the agency found that over 15 years, the country’s oil refineries accounted for the largest number of fatal accidents. Most of these accidents were linked to fires and explosions that typically caused the higher number of serious injuries and deaths.

These high numbers of violations were probably no surprise to those who lived in the neighborhood of an oil refinery in Utah, where an explosion last month damaged several houses. The explosion at the Silver Eagle refinery near Salt Lake City was the second this year.  In January, the refinery was the scene of a fire that seriously injured at least 4 people.  The Silver Eagle refinery has a history of fires, with recent incidents occurring in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Refinery explosions are a major source of concern because of their huge potential for catastrophic injuries and fatalities.  In Texas, we are constantly reminded of how the people who work at these refineries continue to be at risk from hazardous conditions. Many of Texas’ refineries are quite literally, ticking time bombs waiting to go off.  The Texas refinery explosion lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers would like to see more initiative and less foot-dragging from OSHA.

Please contact us to get a free evaluation of your refinery accident case from a lawyer with years of experience handling these cases.  Y

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