Working at an oil refinery is serious business. These employees work in hazardous conditions every day, and it is often considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S.
How Falls Happen in Refineries in Texas
Refinery workers should always receive extensive training in order to remain as safe as possible while on the job site. However, our personal injury attorney adds, accidents still happen.
Here are some common reasons for fall incidents and safety measures that should be in place to stop them:
Oil-rig ladders aren't your typical household ladder—some reach as high as 100 feet. With oil, grease, precipitation, and debris all around, these ladders get slippery and increase fall risk. Fall protection equipment is required for refinery workers climbing these tall ladders, including:
- Anchors that sustain a 5,000 lb. minimum load
- Full-body safety harnesses
- Connectors that secure the body harness to an anchor point
- Positioning and restraint lanyards to prevent workers from reaching the edge, thus hopefully preventing a fall
- Fall arrest lanyards and lifelines work together to prevent a falling employee from reaching the ground
Walkways and scaffolding can be dangerous, especially if they have unprotected sides or edges. Uneven walking surfaces, holes in the floor, and out-of-place equipment can all cause risks on walkways. This can be resolved by:
- Regularly inspecting walkways and railings
- Encouraging workers and their supervisors to point out any hazards they encounter
- Limiting walkway access only to those who need it
Refinery workers have long shifts—sometimes working up to 16 hours at a time. When workers are fatigued, accidents are more likely to happen, including falls. The solution? Refineries should have a fatigue management program that protects their workers.
For all of these different scenarios, proper training is the biggest defense against fall injuries. Training should include safety steps to take prior to climbing off the ground for any reason, platform safety actions, and proper return to ground level. Schedules and hours worked should also reflect a focus on rest and recovery.
What to Do After a Plant or Refinery Fall Accident in Texas
Following a refinery fall, the most important thing is your physical safety and recovery. Even if you are able to walk away from the accident, you should still contact a doctor immediately. Silent injuries may occur, and it is important to receive a thorough physical examination.
Document all doctor appointments or other medical interactions related to the accident and save receipts, reports, and any other paperwork.
After you've addressed your injuries, contact your employer and notify them of the incident. If there were any witnesses to the fall, speak to them and ask for their perspective as to what exactly occurred. If your employer is willing to work with you, show them where the accident occurred and what potentially caused it (i.e., equipment out of place or a slippery surface).
Lastly, contact an attorney. It is important to have a lawyer on your side to ensure you receive any damages you are owed due to incurring an injury at your place of employment.