When looking at news stories it can be difficult to get a true sense of the prevalence of a problem or danger such as refinery or industrial accidents. This is because by their very nature they are high profile, dramatic events that make a lasting impression in the public consciousness. Instead it is more important to look at raw data and other statistics to gain a more accurate impression of how industrial and refinery safety has changed over the years.
KEY GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES REPORT LITTLE CHANGE IN SAFETY
When looking at data gathered by governmental agencies such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration a clear overall result emerges: Refinery and industrial accident rates have remained steady in recent years.
This is of course something of a mixed blessing. On the one hand it is positive that at least accident rates in the industrial sector have not significantly increased. However, when it comes to something as serious and important as human lives and suffering no improvement isn’t really good enough. Even one serious, life-changing accident is too many.
A CLOSER LOOK AT FATALITIES
By far the most emotionally evocative statistic about industrial accidents is the number of fatal injuries sustained per year. The bad news for workers in the refining and oil and gas sector is that about 70% of all fatalities occurring between 2003-2011 in the industrial sector occurred in this subset. This means that refinery workers are at a significantly increased risk of sustaining a fatal injury.
There were roughly about 159 fatal injuries in this sector per year between 2003-2011 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This works out to roughly 13 lost lives per month or 3 lost lives per week industry-wide.
TEXAS WORKERS ARE AT THE HIGHEST RISK
It is important to note that Texas had the highest rate of refinery accidents and fatal injuries. This is not to say that the refineries themselves are necessarily any more dangerous in Texas than they are in other states, merely that because Texas employes the highest number of refinery workers nationwide, the state is also at the highest risk of accidents and fatal injuries. As of 2011 there were about 225,496 workers in this sector and 199 fatalities.
PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF TEXAS REFINERY WORKERS
Dugas Law Firm is committed to protecting the legal rights of Texas refinery workers. While it is somewhat understandable that Texas has more accidents and fatal injuries than other states given the sheer number of Texas workers in the industry, it is in no way acceptable to allow industrial companies to risk the lives of their employees without consequences. No overall improvement in safety and accident rates is also unacceptable when human lives and injuries are on the line. If you or a loved one has been injured in an industrial or refinery accident please contact us to discuss your case.