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Poor Facility Maintenance

Studies of the most recent plant explosions reveal that the leading cause for a chemical accident on the work site is a poorly maintained facility. The chemicals produced on an industrial plant are done so through the use of a broad range of equipment and tools. This equipment requires both specialized training and proper maintained in order to perform its purposes efficiently and safely. If the plant operators fail to comply with maintenance and safety regulations concerning their equipment, the risk of disaster is heighted dramatically.

The equipment found on most chemical plants is likely to include boilers, cooling towers, and various other types of pumps, tools, and tanks. Conveyors and refrigeration systems are also commonly found on a chemical site. All of these tools require special attention to maintenance in order to ensure their safe operation. Federal authorities and private agencies have worked together to compile regulations for maintaining these chemical plants so as to safeguard the workers on the plants and those living in close proximity to the plants from being hurt in a chemical spill or explosion.

Chemical Plant Equipment

At each step in the process, there are different tools involved. The first step is obviously to transport the raw materials and compounds to the plant. At the time of transport, the chemicals are delivered in either liquid or solid form. Once they reach the plant, they are then placed in large tanks where the solid and liquid compounds are mixed together by large paddles to process them into gases and then transport them through tower reactors. These reactors are intended to move chemicals in specific directions so as to cause the desired chemical reaction. The tower reactors can be very hot in order to melt raw materials and provide the necessary environment for the right chemical reaction.

Equally important are the systems behind the operation. After mixing the elements at high temperatures, the new compounds must be cooled in order to store them. This requires the support of cooling towers and special refrigeration systems for the storage of more temperature sensitive products. All the machinery on site requires support equipment to provide energy. Chemical plant equipment is either powered by air compression or electricity, which require on-site power systems. Conveyor belts, pumps, and transport pipes are also important members of a chemical plant.

Who is responsible for proper maintenance?

Chemical plants have been an obvious safety concern since the mid-1900s after a series of explosions drew public attention to this necessary but often dangerous industry. Federal law has been implemented on this subject in several forms to ensure the protection of the workers, the purity of the products produced, and overall public safety. Employers in the industry are required to supervise the maintenance of their plants by equipping their employees with tools and resources to perform routine inspections of the equipment and also to recognize the need for special maintenance.

Workers assigned to maintenance are expected to inspect and replace outdated or worn equipment, especially those that may pose a risk if overlooked, such as catalysts, reagents, and boilers. In addition to routine checks of equipment, workers are also relied upon to report and respond to special needs of equipment such as leaks in storage units and mixers, products falling short of specifications, and regulations and mechanical failures in the plant support equipment.

While the employees of an industrial plant all share in the responsibility of maintaining a safe work environment, the superiors on site and at the head of the company are ultimately responsible for training their employees on federal and company safety policies. The plant supervisors are also responsible for enforcing rules and regulations; failure to do so can result in a citation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Poor Maintenance & Industrial Accident Injuries

Sustaining a clean, safe chemical plant is in the best interest of everyone; the workers at the plant, consumers of the products, and residents living in close proximity to the plant are all affected by the condition of the work site. Therefore, it is imperative for any shortfalls to be attended immediately. Overlooked failures or problems can skew the effectiveness of the chemical process and easily lead to an unintended reaction in the chemicals. Furthermore, leaks or mechanical failures can contaminate the environment in the form of pollution and chemical spills.

While many industrial accidents are pursued through the means of workers' compensation, cases involving special circumstances such as the gross neglect for facility maintenance, the involvement of a third party, or equipment defect can pursue further action through the means of a personal injury claim. In order to determine the best course of action for your particular situation, it is highly advisable that you contact an industrial injury lawyer who is familiar with plant explosions and the liability factors in the industry. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation.

Client's portion of total recovery may be subject to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement claims, Medicare/Medicaid liens or other third-party claims or liens. These verdicts and settlements are intended to be representative of cases handled by Arnold & Itkin, LLP. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims.

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