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Chemical Plant Accident Lawyers

When Plant Owners Put Profits Over Safety, We Stand with Injured Workers

Chemical Plant Accident Attorneys

Our Houston Lawyers Represent Clients in Texas, Louisiana & Nationwide

Arnold & Itkin LLP has represented hundreds of workers injured by the negligence of their employers and fellow workers. Our case history includes catastrophic events such as the 2005 Texas City explosion and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, among many others. With hundreds of clients, many of whom became our friends over the course of their cases, we understand the pain and costs of a serious injury.

Our role is to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve on all fronts: for medical costs, lost wages, lowered earnings, pain and suffering, and more.

Were You Injured in a Chemical Plant Accident?

Employees of chemical plants are placed in danger on a daily basis. While there are inherent risks of working with volatile chemicals in this industry, it does not mean that serious injuries should be expected or discounted; in fact, an alarming number of accidents occur from preventable causes—such as negligent or merely careless behavior.

If you were injured or if someone you love was killed, the time to act is now.

At Arnold & Itkin, we bring a wealth of experience to the table with industrial disasters such as chemical plant accidents. We have recovered billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements since opening our doors, and we have been proud to help countless clients get the money that they need during their recovery period. If you would like to talk to a chemical plant accident lawyer about your situation, contact us today.

Call our chemical plant accident lawyers at (888) 493-1629. We help clients nationwide in cities such as Houston, Baytown, Sugar Land, Pasadena, Pearland, League City, La Porte, and beyond.

Examples of Catastrophic Chemical Plant Accidents

Unfortunately, serious chemical plant accidents occur far too frequently. For example, on April 2, 2019 in Crosby, Texas just outside of Houston, disaster struck when a KMCO chemical plant exploded. According to reports, a transfer line ignited a tank holding flammable chemicals inside of the plant, causing an explosion and subsequent fire. In the aftermath, a nearby roadway was shutdown. At least one individual lost their life in the incident and two were severely injured. It took more than five hours to fully contain the fire that was caused.

That same year saw a string of industrial disasters in the nation. In July, an explosion and subsequent fire ripped through an ExxonMobil facility in Baytown, TX. Nearly 40 people were hurt in the incident, most with burn-related injuries. Then, in November, an explosion occurred at a Port Neches plant owned by petrochemical company TPC Group. Three people were in the blast that shattered the windows and damaged the doors of nearby homes.

5 of History's Worst Industrial Disasters

What Are Common Causes of Chemical Plant Accidents?

In many cases, the causes of chemical plant accidents can be broken down into two categories: natural causes and human error. An example of the first would be the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, where an earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit the power plant—causing three nuclear reactors to meltdown. This, however, is rare. In fact, it is sadly more common to see chemical plant accidents attributed to some form of human errors. To take the Bhopal disaster as an example, it is argued by both the Indian government, as well as activists, that the accident was caused both by both lax management and deferred maintenance.

Per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some of the most common causes include:

  • Inadequate hazard review or process hazards analysis
  • Inappropriate and/or poorly-designed equipment
  • Inadequate indications of process condition
  • Warnings about potential problems that were ignored

Another cause of chemical plant accidents is aging equipment. Watch the video below to learn more.

Examples of Chemical Hazards at Plants

According to OSHA, the safety hazards at chemical plants are those common to other industrial facilities. These will be present in most workplaces at one time or another. They include unsafe conditions that can cause injury, illness, and death.

Common safety hazards at chemical plants include:

  • Spills on floors or tripping hazards, such as blocked aisles or cords running across the floor
  • Working from heights, including ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any raised work area
  • Unguarded machinery and moving parts that a worker can accidentally touch
  • Electrical hazards like frayed cords, missing ground pins, or improper wiring
  • Working in confined spaces
  • Machinery-related hazards (lockout/tagout, boiler safety, forklifts, etc.)

More germane to chemical facilities are chemical and biological hazards. Chemical hazards are present when a worker is exposed to any chemical preparation in the workplace in any form (solid, liquid, or gas). Some are safer than others, but to workers who are more sensitive to chemicals, even common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation, or breathing problems. In every plant, employees are exposed to potentially harmful substances.

Types of things chemical plant workers may be exposed to include:

  • Cleaning products, paints, acids, solvents
  • Vapors/fumes from welding or solvents
  • Gases: acetylene, propane, helium, etc.
  • Flammable materials like gasoline
  • Explosive or corrosive chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Blood and other body fluids
  • Fungi/mold
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Plants
  • Insect bites
  • Animal and bird droppings

Physical hazards specific to chemical manufacturing are present with no proximate exposure. Some factors within the chemical/radioactive environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it.

These include:

  • Radiation, including ionizing, nonionizing (EMF’s, microwaves, radio waves, and so on)
  • High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet rays
  • Exposure to extreme temperatures, hot or cold
  • Constant loud noise

Electrocution & Burns Injury Claims

Two common injuries sustained in chemical plant accidents are electrocutions and burns. Electrical equipment or chemicals can cause burn injuries. Whether it is on the skin, in the eyes, or internally, chemical burns lead to severe tissue damage. It is not necessary for a chemical to be on fire or extremely hot to cause a burn—chemical burns often result from a substance’s pH level (acidity or alkalinity), not its temperature.

Ingesting harmful chemicals also leads to severe internal organ injury. Symptoms include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle twitches

These burns may not be noticeable at first, so it is crucial to immediately rinse the affected area with water for at least 15 minutes. If you accidentally ingested dangerous chemicals, seek medical attention immediately.

Numerous factors can cause electrocution, including:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Aging outlets or cables
  • Unsafe electrical design

Your Employer’s Obligations

Those who work at chemical plants are putting themselves at risk on a daily basis. The nature of the job is inherently dangerous, which makes it necessary for employers to have robust safety protocols familiar to every worker. An employer’s obligation includes training employees on how to avoid accidents and ensure safe production. It is important to remember that employers may be liable for injuries caused by another employee’s negligence. Employers are responsible for ensuring their workers are fit to work.

Employers are also responsible for the state of their plants.

While workplace conditions will always be dangerous in an industrial facility, there are ways to maximize the safety of employees (often through frequent maintenance or updated equipment). However, many employers reduce costs and cut corners by limiting much-needed updates, maintenance, and renovations--resulting in devastating and catastrophic accidents. While workers are usually aware of unsafe conditions, it often doesn’t change until someone files a formal complaint or the employer is held accountable in court. That’s where our firm can help.

The Westlake Chemical Plant Accident Near Sulphur, Louisiana

An explosion at Westlake Chemical’s Petro Complex 2 Unit in Sulphur, Louisiana injured at least 5 people on September 27, 2021. Used in the production of ethylene, a highly flammable chemical, Petro Complex 2 Unit was undergoing maintenance at the time of the explosion. While the fire was put out by the next morning, the cause of the incident is still under investigation. At least one of the workers has sustained severe burns over half their body. Residents throughout the area reported feeling and hearing the explosion, shaking homes from Lake Charles to Hammond and Lafayette.

The LyondellBasell Chemical Plant Accident Near La Porte, Texas

A pressurized pipe burst on July 27, 2021 as workers performed maintenance on the LyondellBasell facility near La Porte. The burst pipe sent vaporized acetic acid into the air, killing 2 workers and sending 30 more to the hospital. Acetic acid can cause burns and respiratory damage when encountered in high quantities—this accident involved over 100,000 pounds of spilled mixture containing it. Just weeks before this chemical leak, the LyondellBasell facility 15 miles away in Galena Park made headlines for a chemical leak. While officials said it wasn’t dangerous, nearby residents reported noticing a garlic-like odor that caused them to experience headaches and nausea.

Wrongful Death from Chemical Plant Accidents

When people die in chemical plant accidents, families lose both a loved one and the ability to build a stable future. Many plant workers are the sole breadwinners for their household, meaning their death not only robs a family of their parent or spouse—they're robbed of weekly groceries, of the ability to pay the rent or mortgage, of the peace of mind that comes from a stable paycheck. Chemical companies know this, but they still do nothing to lend a hand or help support widows and widowers. Our chemical plant accident lawyers won't stand for it.

Arnold & Itkin fights for bereaved families in order to get them the money they need. We've helped thousands of spouses and children get what they needed to keep their homes, put food on the table, start a new career, or whatever else they needed to take care of themselves and their households. If your family member was killed in a plant accident, your loss deserves to be answered for. That's what our firm does—we get answers.

Plant accident wrongful death claims help families recover money equal to:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Projected future earnings
  • Punitive damages

Chemical Plant Accident FAQ

What types of injuries do chemical plant accidents cause?

Chemical plant accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injury to plant workers. They can even cause harm to people living and working in buildings in the area, and they can cause environmental harm. When explosions occur, workers are at the highest risk of harm and may experience serious trauma from being thrown into the air in the initial blast, burned by a resulting fire, inhaling toxic fumes, or trying to run from the incident. Other incidents, like falls, heavy equipment malfunction, and chemical exposure, can lead to head trauma, broken bones, lacerations, and even life-threatening illness.

What should I do if I was injured while working at a chemical plant?

Get medical help as soon as possible, and inform your supervisor or manager. You need to let your employer know, in writing, that you were injured. If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, this will cover your medical treatment and a portion of your lost wages. Failing to inform your employer will jeopardize your right to these benefits. You should also consider talking to an attorney. The injuries you experienced may be severe and could have a lasting impact on your life. You need to be certain that any compensation you recover is enough to cover all of your medical treatment and lost earnings, now and into the future—plus other losses and harm you’ve had to endure.

Do I have a workers’ comp or personal injury case for a plant accident?

If you were working at the time, you may be covered by workers’ compensation—if your employer carries this insurance. If you were not on the job while injured, if gross negligence was involved, or if someone other than your employer or a co-worker was to blame, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. These are two distinctly different courses of action, but either can help you get the medical care and financial support you need. Make sure you work with an attorney who can help with any type of chemical plant accident to help you seek answers, accountability, and compensation.

Get a Free Consultation from Chemical Plant Injury Attorneys You Can Trust

The aftermath of an accident at a chemical plant is one of the most confusing, volatile times anyone can experience. It is difficult enough trying to piece your life together without having to worry about the legalities of pursuing a claim. That is why, after you have received proper medical attention, it is crucial that you speak to a Houston plant explosion attorney about your case. You need an experienced lawyer who has dealt with these types of cases before—someone who knows the ropes and will be able to offer effective legal counsel. You need the industrial injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin. With a decade of experience and billions won, we have proven that we are heavyweights both in and out of the courtroom. To see for yourself, all you need to do is browse through our case results or watch videos to see what our clients have to say.

When you are ready to get started, please call (888) 493-1629 or fill out our online form to request your free consultation. We look forward to helping you get the answers you need.

Case Results

Check Out Our Victories

  • $171 Million One of the Largest Confidential Settlements in History Arnold & Itkin worked over the course of several years to represent clients in a case that many other law firms turned down. In the end, we were able to obtain a record-setting confidential settlement of $171 million.
  • $97 Million Massive Settlement Secured for Refinery Workers Arnold & Itkin is proud to share that after months of preparation for trial, our firm was able to secure a huge settlement for clients who were injured in a refinery fire. Find out more now.
  • $39.7 Million Record Verdict Won for Victim of Industrial Accident Attorneys Kyle Findley and Adam Lewis obtained a record $39.744 million verdict on behalf of a client who was burned in a severe dust fire and explosion at a plywood plant in Corrigan, TX.
  • $18.5 Million Second Verdict Won for 4 Victims of Geismar Explosion In our second trial on behalf of victims of the 2013 plant explosion in Geismar, LA, Arnold & Itkin won a massive verdict for 4 workers and their families. The verdict will go toward providing the extensive care they have required in the years since ...
  • $15.5 Million Massive Verdict Won for Geismar Explosion Victims Arnold & Itkin won a landmark verdict against Williams Companies, Inc. and child company Williams Olefins LLC for their part in the 2013 explosion that killed 2 workers and injured over 100 more. Williams Companies tried to blame the incident on ...
  • $13.7 Million Massive Settlement Won Only Months After Injury Arnold & Itkin represented a plant worker who was seriously injured in an accident on the job. Plant injuries are often complex, taking years to fully investigate and litigate. Fortunately, our firm’s work was able to secure a multi-million dollar ...
  • $12 Million Injured Worker Received Settlement for Burn Injuries Our industrial injury lawyers have recently recovered $12 million on behalf of a plant worker who suffered burns when a safety valve failed at the refinery where he was employed. His settlement will go toward providing him with extensive and ...
  • $11.7 Million Settlement Won for Plant Worker Injured During Turnaround Attorneys Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin successfully recovered $11.75 million on behalf of a man who was injured while working a turnaround at an industrial plant. He was injured because he and his team were not informed of the plant’s dangers, and his ...
  • $11.6 Million Verdict Secured for a Worker Partially Blinded on the Job Our client was only offered $300,000 by the defendant for his near-total loss of sight in one eye, but the jury only deliberated for less than 2 days before they found the defendant guilty of defective equipment design. They gave our client an award ...
  • $4.97 Million Settlement Reached for Orthopaedic Injury Victim Our team worked to represent a client who was severely injured while working at a chemical plant. He was performing construction and maintenance work at the time of the incident. In the end, our firm was successful in settling the case for $4.97 mill ...
See All Results
“Just knowing I had somebody like them fight for me, made me comfortable. If someone was going through this, I’d definitely recommend Arnold & Itkin, for sure. Probably the best. They don’t lose, from what I can see.”
Lance Workplace Explosion Victim

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