An explosion at the ExxonMobil oil refinery in Baytown, TX left four workers hospitalized on December 23, 2021. The explosion rocked the surrounding community, making this the fourth accident in two years at the Baytown industrial facility. According to public documents, workers were attempting to seal a leaking pipe containing Naphthalene, a gas used for manufacturing plastics. Allegedly, one worker struck the pipe with a wrench, igniting an explosion in the facility’s Hydro Desulfurization Unit 1.
The oil refinery has continued to work at a reduced rate since the explosion and subsequent fire.
Workers Injured by 20-Foot Fall in Escape Attempt
The four workers injured in the blast were partially injured by the explosion itself and partially injured by what they needed to do to escape. At least one worker was forced to jump from at least 20 feet up. Statistically, a jump from 20 feet could cause critical bone fractures and organ damage even in the best of circumstances. Two of the workers have been released from the hospital but continue to suffer from head and spine injuries, which are among the most common fall injuries, as well as critical burns all over their bodies.
Our firm has investigated countless plant accident cases (some at this very facility). In our experience, the escape from an explosion can be as dangerous as the explosion itself. It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure there’s a safety plan in the event of an explosion, especially for facilities as treacherous as plants and refineries. At the very least, workers should have safety equipment that allows them to get down from where they are as quickly as possible without permanently injuring themselves.
Baytown Refinery Explosion Destroyed Homes
The effects of the blast were heard and felt throughout Baytown, but the closest residents were also impacted by the fire, which took emergency crews several hours to extinguish. Several homes in the area have been condemned by Texas officials in the wake of the accident.
The National Impact of ExxonMobil’s Poor Safety Record
As the country’s second largest oil refinery, ExxonMobil’s plant can produce over 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day. It has been reported that the effects of this disaster could be felt nationwide, negatively affecting gasoline prices.
Companies like ExxonMobil have a responsibility to keep their workers and the residents living near their plants safe. On December 23, like so many times before, they failed to uphold that responsibility, changing lives forever. Our plant explosion attorneys are following this incident closely and hope to see justice served on behalf of everyone affected.