Just three days after housing an oil fire, an ExxonMobil refinery in Beaumont is now under investigation for the death of a contract worker. The 31-year old female was inspecting the facility in hopes of working on a new project for ExxonMobil when a pipe fell from the ceiling and struck her head. The force of the pipe was enough to result in fatal injury. The cause as to why the 24-inch pipe fell from its perch is still under investigation.
The worker was contracted under Echo Maintenance, preparing to build a new SCANfinig unit for the Beaumont facility. The unit is said to remove sulfur from gasoline in compliance with an ultra-low sulfur gasoline standard. The fatality had no impact on the performance of the facility, as operations continued to run normally despite the incident.
This is not the first time that a contracted worker has been killed in the Beaumont facility. In May of 2016, a contracted worker was similarly killed when a pipe fell and struck the employee in the head.
The fatality is the second major accident for the Beaumont facility this week. Reports show that the refinery suffered from an oil fire just three days before the contract worker’s passing. As both of these incidents are only months out from Hurricane Harvey, authorities are considering if the accidents are connected to hurricane-weakened equipment.A spokesman for ExxonMobil regarded the accident as "a very, very sad day for all of us here.” In response to a question regarding safety, the spokesman said, “safety is the most important value.”