Plant Accidents Caused by Unseen Corrosion
What Is Corrosion? How Does It Occur?
Corrosion is the gradual process by which metal is worn down. This wear and tear is naturally caused by the metal reacting to the surrounding environment. One example is the oxidation that occurs when metal is exposed to oxygen—often resulting in rust and a general weakening of the material. This oxidation can often be easy to spot, which is why machine inspectors are always on the lookout for any discoloration of metal pieces on any machinery. This can be a surefire sign of corrosion.
Corrosion can also occur when a metal is subject to high temperatures. This frequently occurs at an oil refinery plant because, in order to refine crude oil, the product must be heated to extreme temperatures in a process that is known as fractional distillation. When the metal is exposed to hot gas that contains contaminants, high-temperature corrosion can occur. One of the most common forms of this is sulfidation corrosion, which is a direct result of the sulfur compound that exists in crude oil. This starts when the temperature peaks over 500°F.
Other examples of corrosion that often occurs in refineries includes:
- High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA)
- Stress Corrosion Cracking
Preventing Corrosion at Oil Refineries
Other that inspections, there are other steps that can be taken to help prevent against corrosion.
One example is using coatings on machinery. Some common forms of coatings include:
There are more advanced reactive coatings that can actually electrically deter corrosion from happening. All of these are considered "anti-corrosion" treatments, so any unprotected metal at an oil refinery is in danger of corroding, which is why inspectors should also always be on the lookout for any chipping paint at the plant.
Unseen Corrosion: A Silent Killer
Preventing corrosion in oil refineries is a huge priority and a vital step. Unfortunately, even though machine inspectors are always checking for it, that does not mean it is always caught. Corrosion may go unnoticed because it exists in crevices and other hard-to-see spaces or simply because the procedure for checking it was lax. If that is the case, unseen corrosion can become a silent killer and can lead to serious accidents.
Get in Touch with a Personal Injury Attorney for a FREE Consultations
Were you injured in an oil refinery plant accident? Do you have reason to believe the accident was caused by corrosion? If so, you should not hesitate to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer who you can trust.
Many workers in the oil and gas industry are unaware of the benefits that they are entitled to—meaning that they may not receive fair compensation following a serious injury. That is exactly why you should get in touch with a skilled attorney who can assess your situation, discuss your legal options with you, and explain your rights.
At Arnold & Itkin, we are proud to represent clients who were exposed to a dangerous environment at work. Should you become our client, we will fight with all of our resources to ensure you get the compensation that you deserve. Even if you are unsure whether your accident was caused by the negligence of another, you can never know until you consult with an experienced attorney.