Posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 at 9:22 am by Williams Hart
PORT NECHES, TX — Officials are reporting that around 1AM on Wednesday, November 27th, an explosion rocked the TPC Group Plant, a chemical manufacturing plant located about 90 miles east of Houston. The explosion caused extensive damage throughout the city, and a resulting fire continues to burn at the site.
Three employees were injured and transported to the Medical Center and Memorial Hermann in Houston for treatment. Fortunately, no one was killed and all other personnel have been evacuated and accounted for. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. We wish a speedy recovery to all who sustained injuries.
TPC Group has activated its Emergency Response Plan and the incident was immediately reported to the appropriate local, state, and federal authorities.
As of 7AM, safety responders are still working to control the fire.
While the cause of the explosion remains unknown, a full and thorough investigation is underway. Air monitoring is being conducted along the fence line of the facility and in surrounding neighborhoods.
A fire continues to burn and people are under a mandatory evacuation order after an explosion at a chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas. At least three workers were injured and police report extensive damage to the city. https://t.co/pCGBcO0oi6pic.twitter.com/hvaElnzQNO
Local police are also going door-to-door in surrounding neighborhoods to check for injuries after a secondary explosion caused extensive damage to nearby homes. A mandatory evacuation was issued for homes and businesses within a half-mile of the facility, and a shelter-in-place was ordered for the entire city.
Several residents report feeling their windows shake, and some were able to capture images the moment the fiery blast occurred.
Port Neches plant blew up and messed up a most of our house. The blast of the explosion shattered all the windows too. We are safe. pic.twitter.com/JLm0D55SBp
WOW: Incredible video shared with us of the Port Neches plant explosion earlier this morning, not far from Beaumont. Eddie Ramirez writes: “My video cameras caught the moment impact. I hope and pray that everyone is ok.” Latest updates: https://t.co/XTy9gwimgB | #HTownRushpic.twitter.com/pF63DrTFZL
While the oil and natural gas industries in Texas provide workers with steady and well-paying employment, there is significant risk involved in the day-to-day working conditions of oil rigs, refineries, and chemical plants. The injuries sustained at sites like TPC Group can have devastating consequences for workers and their families. In addition to immediate physical and emotional suffering of these injuries, victims may further experience prolonged financial damages associated with the recovery process, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
You deserve the precautions and care needed to provide a safe workplace. If these precautions fail or are not properly set in place, workers get injured. Whether your injuries were caused by an equipment malfunction, a process error or any other type of event, you need to be taken care of. Williams Hart recognizes your dedicated service to your company and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
How We Can Help
By hiring an experienced lawyer at Williams Hart, you can rest assured that you have a firm on your side that understands the specifics of the law when it comes to explosion injuries. In addition, we understand the causes of such injuries, which often occur due to the following factors:
Failure to follow safety protocols
With the right team on your side, you can focus on what is most important following a serious accident: recovering from your injuries.
To discuss the particulars of your injury with one of our personal injury lawyers, please call our Houston offices at (713) 352-7071 today.
Posted on Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 at 8:03 am by Williams Hart
It’s August. You know what that means. Heat waves so blistering and humidity so unmerciful that you feel like you’re in a bowl of Grandma’s soup.
When asked “what’s the weather like down there?”, homegrown and transplant Texans alike are quick to explain that, in the Lone Star State, you might encounter all four seasons in the same day. In other words: unpredictable.
The Lone Star State is notorious for its incredibly diverse climates. As the second-largest U.S. state of over 260-thousand square miles, Texas boasts a range of weather patterns based on location–from the arid western desert, to the humid eastern gulf coast, to the snowy mountain ranges of Big Bend Country.
While it is a running joke among Texans that you might wear a scarf in the morning and a pair of shorts in the afternoon, August is that one time out of the year when we all know what to expect: torturous heat.
Like in any weather climate, extreme conditions can directly affect an individual’s health by compromising the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature. Loss of internal temperature control in the presence of extreme heat can result in a barrage of illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke–all of which could easily turn fatal.
So, how do we Texans survive this brazen assault of near-fatal temperatures, often soaring well over 100 degrees? And how can we protect others from the stifling heat waves of summer?
Invention of the AC
The solution to the life-threatening possibility of developing a heat-related illness began more than a century ago, with somewhat surprising origins.
Willis Haviland Carrier
Born on November 26th, 1876 in Angola, New York, Willis Haviland Carrier was a Cornell University graduate and engineer, best known for inventing modern air conditioning.
A Brief Timeline
1902. In response to an air quality problem experienced at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company of Brooklyn, Willis Carrier submitted mechanical drawings for what became recognized as the world’s first modern air conditioning system. The system was installed in order to prevent misalignment of ink caused by the expansion and contraction of paper stock in the humid climate of the printing plant.
1915. Carrier Engineering Corporation was launched as an independent company by Willis Carrier, and six other young entrepreneurs, to install air conditioning in facilities producing everything from celluloid film to textiles, paper, flour and pharmaceuticals.
1925. In the midst of the roaring 20s, Carrier partnered with three large fan manufacturers to establish the Aerofin Corporation, which installed lightweight air conditioning systems in high-traffic department stores where temperature control was becoming an issue. With the onslaught of the Great Depression, and the dissipation of department store consumerism, air conditioning skyrocketed in popularity with the installation of systems in public movie theaters–the first place that citizens of all walks of life could experience comfort cooling in what was the darkest economic era in U.S. history.
1950s. By the middle of the 20th century, air conditioning was a billion-dollar industry. Carrier’s invention was installed around the world in thousands of factories, offices, stores, hospitals, hotels, and, most importantly–homes. The post-war population explosion of the 1950s came hand-in-hand with the dramatic expansion of the U.S. residential market, where the sale of room air conditioning jumped to more than 1 million units in 1953. Soon after, television advertising would emphasize its benefits of “better appetites, better sleeping, happier home life, cleaner houses, less hay fever.”
The use of climate control quickly grew in popularity among different industries, most commonly grouped by two types of application: comfort and process.
Commercial buildings, such as offices, malls, and restaurants.
Residential buildings, such as single family homes, duplexes, and apartment blocks.
Industrial spaces, such as machine shops and auto garages.
Cars, aircraft, boats
Institutional buildings, such as hospitals and schools.
Chemical and biological labs
Environmental control of data centers
Facilities for breeding lab animals
Food cooking and processings spaces
Nuclear power facilities
Plants and farming
In both comfort and process applications, the objective may be to not only control temperature, but also humidity, air quality, and air movement from space to space.
While the advancement of air conditioning has certainly reduced the risk of developing heat-related illnesses, Texans must not overlook the importance of taking further precautions to protect themselves when a climate-controlled environment is not available.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers a wealth of information when it comes to safety during natural disasters and severe weather.
Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
Pace Yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activities. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
Tip: Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels- these products work best.
Avoid Hot and Heavy Meals: They add heat to your body!
Drink Plenty of Fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Warning: If your doctor limits the amount you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
Check for Updates: Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area.
Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.
Use a Buddy System: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
Protecting Vulnerable Groups
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
People who work outdoors are more likely to become dehydrated and develop heat-related illnesses when precautions are not taken in the presence of extreme temperatures.
According to the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), 16 workers died between January and July 2016 as a result of heat-related illness.
To prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries on the job, an in-depth heat-related illness prevention program should be developed and utilized by employers:
Reduce workplace heat stress by implementing engineering and work practice controls, such as use of reflective barriers, limit time in heat, and increasing the number of workers per task.
Provide a heat stress training program for all workers and supervisors about the following: recognizing signs of heat-related illness, procedures for responding to possible illness, and the importance of acclimation.
Make certain that workers acclimatized to heat by gradually increasing the time they work in hot environments.
Provide the means for appropriate hydration of worker.
Ensure and encourage workers to take appropriate rest breaks to cool down and hydrate.
If your employer does not take these safety measures in the presence of extreme heat and you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to pursue legal action.
Older adults are more prone to heat stress as they don’t adjust well as younger people to changes in temperature. They’re also more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat, and are more likely to take prescription medications that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.
Visit elderly adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Keep them cool and hydrated by ensuring they follow these important tips:
Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If their home doesn’t have air conditioning, contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s really hot outside.
Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
If their doctor limits the amount of fluids they drink, ask them how much they should drink during hot weather.
Don’t use the stove or oven to cook.
Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
Do not engage in very strenuous activities and get plenty of rest.
Infants & Children
Infants and young children rely on others to keep them cool and hydrated when it’s hot outside, so it’s important to remember that they require additional supervision during times of extreme heat.
Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open. Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open.
Keep them cool and hydrated.
Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
Make sure they’re drinking plenty of fluids. Stay away from really cold drinks or drinks with too much sugar.
In addition following the tips outlined above, low-income households should prepare ahead of time for extreme heat this summer, especially if air conditioning is not available in your home.
Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
Extreme heat can be dangerous for anyone, but it can be especially dangerous for those with chronic medical conditions as they may be less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature or they may be taking medications that can make the effect of extreme heat worse.
If someone you know has a chronic medical condition, keep a close eye on those in your care by visiting them at least twice a day, and ask yourself these questions:
Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 at 12:48 pm by Williams Hart
Williams Hart Personal Injury Accident Lawyers are ready to help file your Workplace Burn Injury Claim.
Update: 37 Workers Burned in Accident, 66 Total Medically Evaluated
Emergency crews are responding to a fire at the ExxonMobil Baytown Complex at 3525 Decker Drive. Currently, a shelter-in-place has been issued for areas in Baytown west of the petrochemical and refinery complex and south of Spur 330. This facility lies on the east side of Houston in the heart of the Texas chemical industry.
“ExxonMobil reported that 66 employees/contractors have gone to the Houston Area Safety Council, for medical evaluation.”
A spokesperson for ExxonMobil stated that “37 people sustained non-life threatening injuries”.
Local news is reporting that workers employed on site did sustain burn injuries from the fire.
Live, local video images from television stations show flames shooting several stories into the sky from pipes inside the plant, and many residents reported that their house and windows shook from the initial explosion.
The cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed. Initial reports indicate that the Chemical Plant processed polypropylene, a thermoplastic which are highly flammable and pose a serious risk to the health and safety of employees at the facility in the event of ignition.
Families have been advised not to try to pick up their students.
The City of Baytown is issuing a precautionary order to Shelter in Place due to an emergency at ExxonMobil Baytown Area. Areas west of ExxonMobil should Shelter In Place. See the map below. Please RT. pic.twitter.com/WWXOg3RpNf
The City of Baytown has stated that the fire is in a unit that contains propylene, which is an extremely flammable gas. This material is easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames and can quickly lead to an explosion.
When it comes to hazardous chemical exposure, propylene vapors can cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning. Such contact with this form of gas can also lead to burns and other severe injuries.
Exxon Mobil crews are battling the fire, according to the most recent reports, but the city’s fire department is on standby to assist, according to Natalie Barrett, the spokesperson for the city of Baytown.
ExxonMobil released the following statement about the fire:
A fire has occurred at the Baytown Olefins Plant. Our fire teams are working to extinguish the fire. We are conducting personnel accounting. Our first priority remains the safety of people, including our employees, contractors and the surrounding community. As a precaution, our Industrial Hygiene staff is conducting air quality monitoring at the site and fence line. We are cooperating with regulatory agencies. We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community.
According to the Houston Business Journal Exxon Mobil Chemical Co. is the “Third Largest Houston-area Petrochemical & Chemical Company” with net sales of $28.69 Billion USD.
Founded 100 years ago in 1919, the Baytown complex is one of the largest ethylene plants in the world, boasting nearly 584,000 barrels of crude oil produced a day. It is also the second ExxonMobil location at which an explosion has occurred in the Houston area within the last few months.
The energy production workforce is no stranger to deadly explosions, with more than two dozen oil refinery disasters occurring in the last 50 years. For more info about Refinery Plant Safety you can get more info from Energy API here , and OSHA.gov here .
Occupational injuries and fatalities in the Chemical and oil & gas production industry are typically caused by the following:
Human error and or poorly trained staff
Improperly maintained equipment
Improperly stored end-products
Improperly maintained complex facilities
We are carefully following this story along with everyone in the community, and we will continue providing updates as they become available. You can also follow this developing story online at the Houston Chronicle’s website, KHOU online, and others.
Williams Hart has a long history of representing individuals injured in plant explosions such as the ones in Geismar, LA and Texas City. In situations like these, it is best to turn to an experienced firm to help you understand all of your options. If you have been seriously burned or injured, our Chemical Plant Fire Attorneys are ready to help you in the aftermath of this Baytown ExxonMobil Chemical Fire and Explosion.
For additional information about about your legal representation options after a disaster like this please visit:
If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.
Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.
Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.
Williams Hart Lawyers would like to fight for you to get the Maximum Compensation that you deserve after suffering your burn injury.