The economy in Galveston is largely split between being dependent upon the refineries and the tourists. Even though most people think of this area for the beaches, the men and women who depend on the oil industry for employment don't always see it as a relaxing destination.
There are many different risks that refinery workers face on a daily basis. Companies work hard to ensure that the employees remain safe but accidents and injuries still occur. Improvements in safety procedures and guidelines are helping to improve worker safety, but there is still a chance of injury in this sector.
An improved record
The recordable incident rate, which covers all accidents, has been declining since the 1980s. Fatalities and injuries that are serious enough to require work restrictions or time off have also been declining. The manufacturing sector has a rate of 3.9 illnesses or injuries related to the job per every 100 full-time employees. The rate for petroleum refineries is .9, which is a great improvement over the entire manufacturing sector.
Types of injuries
Many different types of injuries can occur in this industry. Three of the primary risks to refinery workers are burns, spinal cord injuries and head injuries.
Refinery explosions aren't as common as they once were, but they do still occur. High temperatures and chemicals aren't compatible. If there is a chemical spill that starts a fire, the heat in the space can make the fire difficult to extinguish. This poses a risk of serious burns for employees who are near the explosion. On top of this, there is also the chance of chemical burns any areas of skin are exposed to caustic substances.
Another injury that might occur is a spinal cord injury. These are commonly due to impacts from explosions or falls. The high platforms at refineries are necessary but it is possible that a worker might be blown off one in an explosion.
Falling objects and being struck by things can lead to head injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are fairly common in refineries. This is often combatted by requiring workers to wear hardhats, but this isn't a foolproof option. Workers can still suffer serious injuries if they do have a blow to the head or if their head is violently shaken due to an explosion.
Oil refinery workers are often a very tough bunch. This might cause them to downplay their injuries, but this can be devastating. If you are injured at the refinery, be sure to have a medical evaluation and apply for workers' compensation benefits. Other legal action might also be possible, so be sure to evaluate your options.