California Residents Must Protect Legal Rights Following Refinery Injuries

fire.jpgOne business that is booming, both in California and throughout the country, is the oil and gas industry. New drilling and refining techniques have been mastered in recent years which make it possible for the first time to reach certain energy sources that were previously unavailable. These developments may be good news for the local economy, but our California refinery injury lawyer understands that coupled with the benefits is a need to ensure the safety of these sites. There are far too many examples in the past of explosions and similar preventable accidents related to the industry which has severely hurt and killed local residents.

The need to maintain a focus on safety is made more prevalent by news of shake-ups in the local industry. According to Reuters, BP is planning to sell two of its five U.S. refineries, including one in California. The California refinery is located in Carson and handled 253,000 barrels of oil per day. The move comes just as BP ends a three-year probation period stemming from a deadly oil refinery explosion in 2005 that killed fifteen people and injured many others.

Our area is no stranger to the dangers of oil refinery plants. Many nearby residents, for example, may have stories highlighting the dangers of the nearby Chevron Refinery in Richmond. In 1999, a large explosion rocked the refinery, sending a mushroom cloud over the plant and forcing area residents to remain inside to avoid possible contamination. Several emergency responders were also injured in that blast. The seriousness of the explosion was verified by the fact that an amazing 1,200 residents from the East Bay area were forced to go to the emergency room over potential ill effects of being exposed to dangerous fumes from the plant.

Our Bay Area refinery injury lawyer knows that the dangers posed by refinery accidents are hard to predict-but the risk of serious injury affecting thousands is ever present. For example, discussing the 1999 blast a Chevron spokesman explained that the explosion led to a “very hot fire, and when you have burning liquid, it is unpredictable.” Complicating the matter was the fact that strong winds sent the fumes from the blaze over residential areas-along the Carquinez Bridge and near the town of Crockett and then back down to expose the El Cerrito and Berkeley areas.

Unfortunately, explosions (and other serious accidents of this kind) are far more common than they should be. For example, just five weeks before this Richmond explosion, a Tosco Avon refinery accident killed four workers and injured another. The frequency of these accidents has led state lawmakers to worry about the industry’s focus on safety. One California local official noted, “Do we have a culture of safety in these refineries? I know they say they do, but it raises a question. Clearly, the refineries have an interest in having a good safety records, for a whole host of reasons, but we continue to have these events take place.”

The Bay Area refinery accident attorney at our firm is capable of working with those hurt in all manner of accidents in or near the Chevron oil refinery. The civil justice system is an important check on the power of these industries, ensuring that they act reasonably to keep operations safe and provide redress to those harmed by their negligence. Please contact our office if at any time you have been hurt by any conduct at one of these oil refineries.

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