A worker was killed in a Port Arthur refinery accident at the Total Petrochemical plant on Saturday.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said 66-year-old Thomas Courts, of Denton, Texas, was driving a bulldozer that became submerged in a pit of 200-degree refinery wastewater. Courts was a contract worker employed by Kinder Morgan, which operates a coke terminal in Port Arthur.

Petroleum coke is made from the residual crude that is left after refining. The delayed coking unit puts residual crude into drums where it is heated until it becomes hard, which typically takes 24-48 hours. High-pressure water jets are used to remove the petroleum coke, which drops into a coke pit.

At the time of the accident, sources say workers were using bulldozers to move coke and coke dust from below the coking unit. The bulldozer Courts was driving flipped over into the petroleum dust and 200-degree water, according to reports.”

Refinery workers face significant hazards in the workplace every day. These dangers are compounded when companies cut corners and fail to adhere to safety standards to increase profits. The results can be life-altering injuries and tragic deaths that are often preventable.

The Texas refinery accident lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers offer legal assistance to workers who have been injured, and the families of workers who are killed, while working in plants across the United States.