If you work for Westlake Chemical at any of their facilities, you have the right to expect that safety standards will be followed and your health will be put first if an accident does occur. Too often, we have seen hard-working men and women given the run around by insurance companies and employers that are more interested in protecting their bottom line than their employees. Our lawyers are committed to helping injured workers get the treatment and support they need to rebuild, even after the most serious work injuries.
Contact our Westlake Chemical accident lawyers today to find out how we can help you.
Westlake Chemical Accidents & Injuries
Through its decades in operation, Westlake Chemical has been no stranger to safety violations and accidents.
In 2012, the Occupational safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Westlake for 10 serious safety violations at its vinyl plant in Geismar, Louisiana, proposing a $67,000 fine for conditions that put employees at risk due to “the potential of over-pressurized process equipment.”
In 2018, OSHA opened an inspection into Westlake Chemical’s plant in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, finding 4 serious violations and 1 repeat violation and proposing a $103,916 fine. The inspection came after a worker’s left hand and a finger on his right hand were severed by a stock cutter.
In March of 2020, an employee died at the Westlake Chemical facility in Geismar, Louisiana. According to local news, the incident occurred in the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) unit of the Ascension Parish plant. Operators at the plant lost contact with the worker just after midnight and his body was recovered four hours later.
Explosion & Fire at Westlake Chemical Plant near Lake Charles, Louisiana
At about 10:45 a.m. on January 26, 2022, a large explosion and fire were reported at Westlake Chemical South, which is about 4 miles from Lake Charles, Louisiana. Large plumes of smoke could be seen flowing from the plant, but the cause of the explosion has yet to be determined. Officials soon reported that six people were injured in the incident. One was treated at the scene and five others were transported to local hospitals.
The explosion reportedly involved a tank of ethylene dichloride (1,2-dichloroethane), a colorless liquid with a scent similar to chloroform. It is identified as a carcinogen — a substance that can cause cancer in humans. If inhaled, it can irritate the nose and throat. Contact with the skin can cause burns. Exposure can have serious consequences, including headaches, loss of consciousness, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
Numerous emergency crews responded to the scene, and all schools in the Westlake and Sulphur area were put on a temporary shelter-in-place order to prevent possible exposure after the Westlake Chemical plant explosion.
Explosion at Westlake Chemical’s Petro Complex 2 Unit in Sulphur, LA
At around 11 pm on September 27, 2021, Westlake Chemical’s Petro Complex 2 Unit in Sulphur, Louisiana was rocked by a flash fire and explosion that injured 5 workers. All were taken to local hospitals, and one suffered serious burns to at least half of their body. Residents in Hammond, Lake Charles, and Lafayette reported hearing and feeling the explosion from their homes.
This incident occurred during plant maintenance, which is one of the most dangerous times for any facility, especially one like the Petro Complex 2 Unit, which is involved in the production of ethylene. Turnarounds require the shutdown of a plant or refinery to replace, repair, inspect, and maintain equipment and machinery. They are expensive and often go over budget and take longer than expected. The five workers who were injured in the Sulphur plant explosion were involved in turnaround operations.
The cause of this Westlake Chemical plant explosion is still under investigation.
Westlake Chemical Plant Locations
Westlake and its subsidiaries operate 28 facilities and offices in the United States. These are located in:
- Aberdeen, Mississippi
- Booneville, Mississippi
- Bristol, Tennessee
- Calvert City, Kentucky
- Columbus, Ohio (Royal Building Products)
- Geismar, Louisiana
- Greensboro, Georgia
- Hazlehurst, Mississippi (Gallman)
- Houston, Texas (headquarters)
- Janesville, Wisconsin
- Sulphur, Louisiana
- Lenexa, Kansas (DaVinci Roofscapes)
- Leola, Pennsylvania
- Lodi, California (NAPCO)
- Longview, Washington
- Longview, Texas
- Madison, Mississippi
- Marion, Virginia
- McPherson, Kansas
- Proctor, West Virginia (Natrium)
- Novi, Michigan (Westlake Global Compounds)
- Plaquemine, Louisiana
- Prairie, Mississippi
- Shelby Township, Michigan
- Wayne, Pennsylvania
- Westlake, Louisiana
- Wichita Falls, Texas
- Yucca, Arizona
Talk to a Westlake Chemical Injury Lawyer Today
Companies like Westlake Chemical have a legal and moral obligation to protect their workers. They must promote safe working environments by following regulations, properly maintaining equipment, performing turnarounds, and avoiding a culture where production is valued more than safety. Plant explosions, fires, chemical leaks, and other serious accidents will happen when safety standards are not met. Workers lives will be jeopardized when they’re placed second to profits. This is simply unacceptable.
At Arnold & Itkin, our Westlake Chemical accident attorneys believe in fighting for the rights of injured industrial workers and their families. When catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths happen at chemical plants, oil refineries, factories, and other industrial worksites, our attorneys are there to stand up for the injured and lost. We face off against multi-billion-dollar corporations without fear because we know we are fighting to set things right.
To find out more about your rights and options, call our Westlake Chemical plant explosion lawyers at (888) 493-1629. Your consultation is free and confidential.