Oil refinery worker fatalities

Pennsylvania residents may be interested to learn of a recent study regarding oil refinery workers both before and after the deadly British Petroleum refinery explosion in Texas City in 2005. The explosion, which occurred in 2005, represents one of the most-studied refinery accidents in recent history.

The researchers were interested in studying fatal refinery accidents in order to determine where those accidents occur most frequently and whether the industry has become safer since the 2005 BP explosion. The researchers noted the difficulty of determining how many fatalities truly occur at refineries, as the companies have been contracting out more dangerous jobs out to other companies, thus changing how resulting deaths are classified by industry as reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Beginning in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking contractor deaths at oil refineries. The researchers indicate that even so, some deaths are missed in official reports. After an exhaustive review of governmental records, the researchers found that at least 64 people died in refinery accidents in the 10 years prior to the BP explosion, while 58 have died in accidents since the explosion.

Fatal workplace accidents occur more often in certain industries, especially in those in which workers must work around hazardous substances or use dangerous equipment as a part of their jobs. Employers owe a duty of care to make certain their employees work in environments that are relatively safe. OSHA has promulgated industry-specific regulations designed to prevent and reduce such incidents. When a fatal workplace accident does occur, the families left behind often are left with staggering expenses and unexpected financial losses, compounding the grief they also experience. Families may want to consult with a workers' compensation attorney in order to determine what benefits may be available.

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