Plant Accidents If Aging Plants Are Not Maintained, They Can Cause Serious Accidents

Aging Plant Equipment Claims

Houston Plant Explosion Lawyers

While plant and refinery accidents are always tragic, it is made even worse by the fact that these incidents can be avoided with the proper care and caution. One common cause of these plant explosions and fires is age. As Attorney Kurt Arnold explains in the below video, many of these plants, factories, and refineries have not been updated in decades—this means everything, from the equipment being used to the safety procedures, are outdated.

Use of Old, Outdated Equipment in Plants & Refineries

This is not a problem limited to the U.S. In fact, in early 2013, former chairman of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, slammed the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant for its use of "sub-standard material."

According to the the scientist's criticism, the inferior materials being used at the plant created serious problems and raised alarming safety concerns. In the United States and globally, there is growing alarm about the risks of using aging equipment in plants and refineries of all kinds, particularly plants handling potentially harmful materials.

According to Mr. Arnold, that's just not acceptable:

"Most plants have not been updated in 50 or 60 years, and most of the equipment that is used is really old equipment. It's old technology. It's things that worked when we otherwise didn't have new technology available, but for whatever reason most companies have decided not to upgrade their plants and not to build new plants."

The Consequences of Ignoring Aging Equipment

The Texas City Refinery explosion that killed 15 workers and injured nearly 200 in March 2005 was caused by old equipment that failed. According to the reports following the tragedy, the explosion occurred in an isomerization unit where a raffinate splitter had been overfilled with overheated liquid. In the end, there were several causes of the incident, but one that stood out was the failing of equipment which was used in the plant.

In fact, earlier the year of the explosion, Telos had reviewed that plant and found that there were several alarming defects, such as:

  • Broken alarms
  • Thinning pipe
  • Falling concrete
  • Excessive fumes

In 2013, a Chevron refinery in California’s Bay Area exploded, spreading crude oil and dangerous fumes into the air. The refinery is the third largest in California, and among the oldest as well—it has been operating for over a century. It should come as no surprise that the plant is riddled with parts that need replacing, and it frequently suffers from fires and explosions (one of which occurred less than a year prior to this one).

This particular explosion was caused by a failed pipe that was over 30 years old. It was first installed in the 1970s and was never replaced. A similar issue caused a fire in 2012 at the same plant. That’s the issue with problems caused by aging equipment—when a plant is not frequently updated or renovated (to save costs, to limit production interruption, etc.), it is far too easy for catastrophic failure to occur on a frequent basis.

Contact a Plant Explosion Attorney in Houston

At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we are no strangers to helping the victims of plant explosions and fires. In fact, we proudly represented victims of the BP Texas City explosion, something that could have been avoided by following simple safety protocols. We know just how difficult it can be in the aftermath of such a tragedy, and we are dedicated to doing everything possible so that our clients can receive the justice that they deserve.

If you or a loved one were injured in a plant or refinery accident, you should not hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer from our firm as soon as you can. Although we are located in Houston, Texas, we represent clients across the nation, securing billions in record-setting verdicts and settlements.

To learn more about the firm and how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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