Hurricane Ida Devastated One of the Nation’s Largest Industrial Hubs

Hurricane Ida caused Category 4 winds and pummeled the Louisiana coast.  In the days after the storm, many homes and buildings have been heavily damaged or destroyed entirely.  The extent of the damage is unknown at this time.

Louisiana’s Energy Profile

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Louisiana’s 17 oil refineries account for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s refining capacity and can process about 3.4 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Oil and Chemical Releases

According to reports by the New York Times, “On Monday, officials warned that floodwaters had spilled over a temporary levee erected near a Phillips 66 refinery in Plaquemines, the state’s southernmost parish and one of most severely affected by Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago. And in neighboring St. Bernard Parish, almost two dozen barges unmoored by Hurricane Ida’s 150 miles-per-hour winds damaged the dock at the giant Valero Refinery there. And news photos showed extensive flooding and dark flares at Shell’s refining and chemical complex in Norco, farther inland.”  The same article noted that Hurricanes Laura and Harvey caused oil and chemical releases from other oil and chemical facilities along the coast.

Explosions and Fires Associated with Hurricanes Laura and Harvey

In the wake of Hurricane Laura, a chemical plant in southwest Louisiana caught fire and sent “thick smoke containing poisonous chlorine billowing into the air.”  Hurricane Harvey flooding knocked out power to refrigerated trailers located at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas.  Those refrigerated trailers caught fire when the “organic peroxide products inside, which required low-temperature storage, decomposed and combusted.”

The damage associated with Hurricane Ida is not fully understood at this time.  Hurricanes can move pipelines significant distances, creating risks and dangers to the environment and the people that have to be sent out to fix the damage.

Common Contributing Factors of Industrial Accidents in Louisiana and Texas

Industrial accidents can happen because of a variety of factors.  Some of the common causes of industrial accidents are listed below:

  • Equipment Malfunction
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Lack of Training
  • Improper Training
  • Lack of Supervision
  • Improper Inspections
  • Rushing the Work
  • Explosions and Fires
  • Failure to Provide Workers With Proper Safeguards

According to a 2020 article published by Fractracker Alliance, in 2019 alone, the 614 reported pipeline accidents caused approximately $259 million in damages.

Types of Injuries Caused by Industrial Accidents in Louisiana and Texas

Industrial accidents can result in very severe injuries and fatalities, including:

  • Burn injuries
  • Crush injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Back Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Disc Herniation
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Loss of Entire Limbs
  • Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
  • Wrongful Death

Who is Responsible for Industrial Accidents?

Parties that may be responsible for industrial accidents include:

There are a variety of parties that could be responsible for these types of accidents, including:

The company who owns, operates, or controls the industrial facility: In many cases, the company that owns, operates, controls, or built the industrial facility is responsible when there is an explosion or some other failure that is a cause of someone’s injury. For example, something could cause equipment to rupture and explode—maybe the equipment was not properly installed, inspected, and/or maintained.  If you were injured working around equipment and you are not employed by the company that owns the equipment, you usually can file a personal injury lawsuit against the industrial company.

A third-party: Companies that own, operate, and control industrial facilities sometimes hire third-party contractors to perform specific tasks, such as welding, sanding, painting, testing, repairing.  When a third party injures you, you should be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that party to recover damages.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or tragically killed in an accident at an industrial facility, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced industrial accident lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP today for a free, confidential consultation.  Our lawyers can bring lawsuits throughout Louisiana and Texas.

Our Louisiana and Texas industrial accident lawyers are ready to help. Please call us at 866-747-6112 for a free, confidential consultation.