Large industrial plants such as refineries, power plants, and petrochemical plants dot the Texas landscape. Manufacturing is huge in Pasadena,Texas, contributing 13% to the state’s annual GDP with jobs that employ hundreds of thousands of Texans.
These plants operate continuously year-round, with only a few exceptions. Shutdowns and outages typically happen in reaction to circumstances such as a natural disaster or power outage or are part of a scheduled seasonal closure when demand is low.
What Are Turnarounds?
Larger, proactively planned shutdown events called turnarounds (or TAR) are major regeneration periods where the plant undergoes extensive inspection and testing of all operations for safety purposes. These can last as little as a few weeks or up to several months—or even years. Turnaround shutdowns are often planned during spring and fall as demand is lower than during summer or winter weather.
Turnarounds bring a high level of potential danger to everyone in and around the industrial plant and, statistically, are when the highest number of injuries occurs. An estimated 70% of major accidents at industrial plants occur during turnarounds. Our Pasadena plant and refinery accident lawyer explains more about the dangers of turnarounds below.
Why Turnarounds at Plants Are Dangerous
Turnarounds are extremely costly. Not only does the plant get shut down, which is very expensive, but there are also huge costs associated with bringing in workers and equipment to conduct a turnaround. Turnarounds can require dozens of contractors and temporary workers who bring additional equipment to the plant and operate machinery at maximum levels during safety testing.
Workers can be anywhere and everywhere in a plant during these inspection and testing procedures, even in confined spaces and places where people don’t typically work. When you combine the additional people and equipment, new patterns of activity, and maximum operation levels of machinery during a turnaround, the potential for injuries and accidents is very high.
Injury Risks During a Refinery Turnaround
Industrial plant injuries during turnarounds can be wide-ranging, from minor to catastrophic. These can include:
- Crush, amputation, or loss of limb injuries
- Exposure to or inhalation of hazardous chemicals or gases
- Chemical or thermal burns
- Injuries sustained from an explosion
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Injuries sustained during equipment collision accidents
Following all OSHA and other safety precautions and wearing every piece of recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) each day during a turnaround is extremely important for every person involved in plant shutdown and turnaround activities.
What to Do if You Are Injured During a Turnaround
If you or someone you love has been injured during a plant turnaround, you should consult a plant and refinery accident lawyer as soon as possible. Immediately after the incident, try to stay calm so that you can evaluate the details of the situation carefully.
Take photographs or videos related to the event that occurred, if possible. Make note of any missing or damaged equipment, and preserve any physical evidence related to the accident. Keep copies of all paperwork related to the accident, such as incident reports, repair records and costs, and medical records for treatment of injuries. These costs are seen together as “damages” in a plant turnaround accident case.
How an Industrial Plant Injury Lawyer Can Help
An experienced industrial plant injury lawyer in Texas will help you hold those who are responsible for the conditions that led to the accident accountable and get compensation for your injuries. If your Texas employer does not carry workers’ comp, you can sue them for reimbursement of costs incurred as the result of the accident, including lost wages due to time off work. SJ Injury Attorneys take plant accident cases on a contingency basis, meaning there are no costs to you until and unless you receive a settlement or trial ends in your favor.