Thursday, April 7th there was a fire at the Baytown ExxonMobil Plant, 30 minutes east of Houston, TX. There were reports of large flames and thick black smoke billowing. Multiple water cannons were deployed to subside the flames between 5-6 pm. There were no injuries reported, and all employees were accounted for. The plant investigators are going to be testing the air quality for the plant and nearby areas in case contamination occurred.
Previous Accidents In Houston Area
Just one month ago to this week, the Pasadena plant experienced an explosion that ended in an injured employee. This plant is just 20 minutes away from the ExxonMobil Plant, which is just 10 minutes from Houston. The accidents are continuing to occur near suburban areas where the residents have reported changes in air quality and the explosions. Currently, there are 26 oil refineries in Texas as of January 1st, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
According to OSHA, the most common causes for injuries to Oil & Gas workers are the following:
- Struck-By/ Caught-In/ Caught-Between
- Explosions and Fires
- Confined Spaces
- Chemical Exposures
Texas has experienced multiple oil & gas plant explosions in the past decade. These companies have received multiple citations from OSHA but the upgrades necessary will cost a lot more than the fines. We will hopefully know the environmental impact of these explosions and fires in the future.