Despite earlier reports, it now turns out that four contractors were treated for injuries following last week’s explosion at the Valero refinery in Texas City, Texas.
April 19th Explosion Occurred on Depropanizer Tower
The April 19th explosion occurred shortly before 5:00 p.m. on the refinery’s depropanizer tower, where it ignited a massive fire.
The blast was heard by people living and working within 5-miles of the refinery and could be felt up to 2-miles away.
Valero declared a Level 3 Emergency shortly after the explosion, and workers at the facility, as well as those at the adjacent Marathon Oil refinery, were ordered to shelter in place.
Students attending activities at nearby schools were kept inside until roughly 5:30 p.m.
Firefighting units from Texas City, Valero and the Marathon refinery had the blaze contained by 6:30 p.m.
4 Contractors Injured, One Valero Employee Evaluated for “Health Issue”
Valero reported on Thursday evening that all personnel had been accounted for and that no one had been injured in connection with the incident.
On Friday, however, the company acknowledged that four unidentified contractors had sustained minor injuries while leaving the area of the blast and fire.
A Valero employee was also evaluated for an unspecified health issue but was able to return to work the next day.
It’s not clear why Valero waited until Friday to report the injuries.
Valero Refinery Has History of OSHA Violations
The Valero refinery is located on 290 acres in Texas City’s industrial park, near the Texas Ship Channel and about 45 miles from Houston.
The facility had a refining capacity of 225,000 barrels in 2017.
According to KHOU-11, the Valero Texas City refinery has a history of workplace violations dating back to at least 1998.
That year, an employee was killed after being exposed to hydrogen sulfide without a required respirator. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Valero $24,000 for serious violations associated with that incident.
OSHA also fined Valero $4,500 in connection with a boiler explosion at the Texas City facility that killed one employee and injured another in 2009.
In 2015, another worker at the Texas City refinery suffered chemical burns when tubing ruptured and released a caustic substance.
Valero also received a $21,000 fine for serious violations following a 2015 ladder accident in which another employee sustained multiple fractures and injuries.
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