As we reported earlier this week, there was a chemical plant explosion in Sulphur, LA at Westlake Chemical on Monday night. The explosion left at least one person severely burned, while others were forced to evacuate away from the fire. The cause of the explosion is still unclear, but we know that the plant was undergoing a turnaround at the time. Explosions often result from turnaround accidents, as incorrect shutdown procedures can create volatile conditions.
Now, seven of the Westlake Chemical explosion survivors have turned to us for help. We’ve so far filed for one of them, and we’re in the process of filing petitions for the rest. We share his story below.
What Happened at Westlake Chemical on Monday Night?
Westlake Chemical hired a contracting company called Cardinal to provide industrial hydro-blasting maintenance in Petro Complex 2 at the Westlake Chemical ethylene production facility. Wastewater, another company contracted by Westlake, was also doing industrial cleaning in the same area.
Our client, an employee for Cardinal, was sitting on a pump when something in the plant exploded, launching him backwards from his perch and onto the ground. Disoriented and fearing for his life, he fled the scene with a sharp pain in his head, neck, and back. His ears were ringing as he tried to find his way out.
When he was able to get to safety, he learned the full extent of the damage. The explosion robbed our client of his ability to hear, as well as afflicting him with head, neck, and back injuries. The explosion also caused serious psychological trauma, an unfortunate but common side-effect of surviving a life-threatening disaster.
Who We’re Holding Responsible
The defendants in this case include all three parties: Westlake Chemical Corporation, Cardinal Culinary Services, and Wastewater Specialties. All three exhibited gross negligence in their failures to properly supervise the crew, train employees, inspect equipment, secure all flammable gas from the pipelines, warn employees of active hazards, and other acts.
Now, we’re fighting for our client to get the medical care he needs to address his injuries. More importantly, we’re fighting for what he needs to rebuild his life, which includes paying for long-term treatment, replacing lost income as he recovers from his physical and psychological harm, and other losses.
All these workers deserved far better from their employers. Industrial work comes with natural hazards and risks, but what happened on Monday night was the result of carelessness, plain and simple. We look forward to holding these defendants accountable while helping our client get what he needs.