Cause of Texas Oil Refinery Explosion Under Investigation

A refinery in Pasadena, Texas recently experienced an explosion “with thick black smoke that could be seen for miles,” according to ABC News. Such oil refinery accidents can be tragic and are often avoidable. Despite strict OSHA standards, oil refinery accidents continue to injure workers across the country as illustrated by an oil refinery accident in Pasadena.

The explosion occurred just after 1:00 in the afternoon at Pasadena Refining System. The company previously received 21 violations after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection in December of 2010.

Although the oil refinery accident is still under investigation, reports indicate that there was an explosion and do not yet point to any deviations from the company’s safety protocol.

The fire was promptly contained, but continued to burn long after the explosion. Only one employee was injured and suffered minor injuries. He received treatment at a local hospital shortly after the explosion.

Dangers Oil Refinery Employees Face

Although working at a refinery is a dangerous job, OSHA applies strict safety standards designed to avoid unnecessary oil refinery accidents. The Department of Labor along with the Environmental Protection Agency released a safety alert outlining specific operation hazards.

Included on the list were occupational hazards like transferring, processing and storing chemical materials along with general concerns of toxic exposures, dust irritants and burn trauma. The alert calls for modifying operations to control hazards and maintaining an effective emergency response program.

Steps To Avoid Accidents

Employers are encouraged to implement modifications including a shift to automated systems for more hazardous activities. A primary example allows a computerized system to control alternation between machines, a very dangerous task.

Use of buddy systems is also encouraged to ensure accurate procedures are followed. The alert also calls for more training and better work conditions ranging from increased ventilation to temporary guard rails.

Unfortunately, employees cannot often control which safety measures are actually put into effect in their workplace. Being aware of and following implemented safety protocol does help, but is not always enough — as illustrated by the recent explosion.

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