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Undefeated Texas Plant & Refinery Explosion Lawyers

Plant & Refinery Explosion Lawyers with Billions Won for Industrial Workers

Plants and refineries are a symbol of industrial might, employing thousands and producing the energy that powers our lives. And while no one can dispute their importance to the Texas economy, the men and women responsible for keeping the state’s refineries running nearly 24/7 face danger at every turn. 

Without notice, a single spark from a welding torch or other ignition source can trigger a cataclysmic explosion, transforming a refinery into a raging inferno that leaves workers severely burned, catastrophically injured, or worse. Yet all too often, workers and their families are left to deal with the aftermath of an explosion on their own, despite the refinery operator’s promises to “take care” of them and “make things right.”

But after a serious accident or explosion, it’s not your company that decides whether to compensate you and your family for your injuries—it’s their insurance company.  And insurance companies have one and only goal: to save money by paying you and your family as little as possible for your injuries and financial losses.

Contact our Undefeated Refinery Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation at 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here

If you or a loved one were injured or tragically killed in a plant or refinery explosion, the company and its claims representatives may tell you that they’re going to take care of you and your family.

But, the insurance company is making the decisions.  And insurance companies will pay you and your family as little money as possible.

Having successfully represented over 1,000 industrial workers against the largest insurance, oil and gas, maritime, and energy companies in the world, our Plant and Refinery Explosion Lawyers have consistently demonstrated that we don’t just win for our client – we set records.

Call 1-888-603-3636, use the “Chat Now” button on our site, or Click Here to send us a confidential email.

The Plant and Refinery Explosion Attorneys at Zehl & Associates will answer your questions, explain your rights and options, and make sure you have the information you need to decide what’s best for you and your family.

All consultations are free, and you won’t pay us a dime unless we win your case.

“We’re More than Just Lawyers, We’re Like Family”

Plant and refinery workers hire us to win.  We focus on setting records.

From getting you to the best doctors and medical providers in the country to making sure you’re able to pay the bills while your case is pending and setting you up with the best financial advisors to protect your settlement once your case has been resolved, our refinery explosion lawyers are always there for you—both while your case is pending and long after it’s been resolved.

You can hear directly from our clients by viewing our Client Video Review Page or our firm’s YouTube Channel.


In addition to ensuring that industrial workers receive the maximum compensation possible, our Plant Explosion Lawyers and staff make sure that:

  • you’re able to see the best doctors and medical providers for your injuries
  • you’re able to pay your medical bills and necessary living expenses while your case is pending, and
  • you have access to the best tax and financial professionals after your case has been resolved, so that you’re able to continue caring and providing for yourself and your family for the rest of your life

The Largest Refinery Explosions in History

As of January 1, 2023, there were 129 operable petroleum refineries in the United States, and total refinery capacity stood at more than 18 million bpd. The nation’s newest refinery, the  Texas International Terminals in Channelview, Texas, began operating in February 2022. However, the last U.S. refinery with significant downstream capacity opened in 1977, when Marathon’s Garyville refinery came online.

While there are refineries in every state, the Gulf Coast boasts the single largest concentration in the country. Texas has more operating refineries than any other state, with 47. Louisiana has the second largest number, with 19, followed by California, with 18. Not surprisingly, many of the nation’s largest refineries are located in those three states.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has levied millions in fines against almost all of the largest refineries in the United States, often in connection with accidents and explosions that resulted in severe injury and death.

Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery Texas City, Texas

Marathon’s Galveston Bay Refinery began operation in 1934 and currently has a  refining capacity of 593,000 bpd and employs around 1,550 full-time workers. In March 2005, the facility – then owned by BP – experienced one of the worst refinery disasters in U.S. history,  a series of devastating explosions that claimed the lives of 15 workers and injured hundreds of others. BP ultimately agreed to pay  OSHA more than $21 million in penalties for safety and health violations uncovered in the wake.

Unfortunately, the Texas City Refinery has experienced other tragedies in the years since, including the fatal electrocution of a contract worker in February 2023 and a fire that killed another worker in May 2023.

ExxonMobil Refinery, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Located along the Mississippi River, the ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rough employs roughly 2,100 workers and has a refining capacity of approximately 502,500 barrels per day. In recent years, the facility has received OSHA fines totaling $3 million for various safety infractions, including inadequate emergency response procedures. 
In November 2016, four workers were hurt – including one man who suffered catastrophic burns and another thrown from a scaffolding  –  when a massive explosion erupted at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery. Nearly a year later, a second fire at the same facility almost one year later resulted in no injuries.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Garyville, Louisiana

Marathon’s Garyville refinery employs approximately 1,500 workers and has a refining capacity of 596,000 barrels per day.  Over the past decade, the refinery has been fined more than $4.2 million by OSHA for multiple safety violations, including failure to maintain equipment integrity.

The Garyville Refinery has also been the site of several accidents and explosions in recent years:

Chevron Richmond Refinery, Richmond, California

The Chevron Richmond Refinery is located on 2,900 acres along the San Francisco Bay in California and has a capacity of 240,000 bpd. Approximately 3,000 employees and contractors work at the facility, making the Richmond Refinery one of the Bay Area’s largest employees. Since  2013, Chevron’s Richmond refinery has incurred OSHA fines of $1.5 million for violations related to emergency shutdown procedures and equipment maintenance.

On August 6, 2012, a fire erupted in one of the Richmond refinery’s towers, spreading to at least three units used to cool water. While the six workers injured in the fire sustained only minor injuries, nearby residents were warned to shelter in place for more than 9 hours. Thousands would eventually seek medical aid at area hospitals for respiratory and other problems.

The  U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) later determined that the Chevron refinery fire was caused by a corroded and leaky pipe, which released a vapor cloud that surrounded 19 workers while they were attempting to make repairs. The cloud ignited within minutes, creating what witnesses called a “wall of fire” and releasing a cloud of smoke that could be seen throughout the Bay Area.

Valero Energy Corporation, Port Arthur, Texas

Located about 90 miles from Houston, Valero’s Port Arthur Refinery employs more than 700 workers and processes roughly 395,000 bpd into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. In the last decade, the refinery has faced OSHA fines totaling $6.2 million for a variety of safety infractions, including insufficient monitoring of equipment conditions. 

The Valero Port Arthur Refinery was the site of a large fire in September 2017 that spewed more than 1 million pounds of potentially toxic emissions into the air, forcing nearby residents to shelter in place for several hours. While there were no injuries connected with that incident, an accident at Diamond Green Diesel 3, a renewable diesel plant under construction at the complex, claimed the life of a 61-year-old contractor in February 2022.

Citgo Petroleum Corporation, Lake Charles, Louisiana

The largest of three Citgo refineries located in the United States, the Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex employs just over 1,020 regular full-time workers and has a crude oil refining capacity of 463,000 bpd. In the last decade, the Lake Charles refinery has been fined $4.1 million for inadequate hazard communication practices and other safety violations.

In March 2020, a contractor died after being struck by a forklift while working at the refinery.  In 2016, another worker was injured during an accidental release of hydrogen sulfide gas. However, the Citgo refinery’s worst fatal incident occurred in 1991, when an explosion involving a catalytic cracking unit killed six workers and severely burned six others.

ExxonMobil Baytown Refinery

Located just 25 miles west of Houston, the 560,00 bpd ExxonMobil Baytown Complex occupies roughly 3,400 acres along the Houston Ship Channel and provides jobs for more than 22,000 employees and contractors. The facility has been hit with OSHA fines exceeding $4.7 million for safety infractions, including inadequate protection against chemical exposure. 

In December 2021, just days before Christmas, a massive explosion seriously injured four workers at the ExxonMobil Olefins Plant, including three who suffered catastrophic burns and a fourth who sustained a fractured femur. The explosion apparently erupted on a gasoline-producing unit and was exacerbated by naphtha, a flammable liquid used to dilute crude oil. Our Undefeated Refinery Explosion Lawyers represent several ExxonMobile Olefins workers in connection with that incident.

The December 2021 explosion was only the third involving the ExxonMobil Baytown Complex over a period of less than three years.   On July 31, 2019, another explosion on a recovery unit at the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant injured more than 40 workers and ignited a fire that continued to burn for more than seven hours.  Nearby residents were also subject to a shelter-in-place order that remained in effect for over three hours.

A furnace fire erupted at the Complex on March 16, 2019, sending a plume of flames and smoke into the air around Houston. Fortunately, no one was hurt in that incident, and authorities did not issue shelter-in-place or evacuation orders.

Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, Pascagoula, Mississippi

Located on the Mississippi Sound, Chevron’s Pascagoula Refinery employs over 1,630 people and has a processing capacity of roughly 360,000 bpd. Deficiencies in process safety management and other safety violations have cost the facility $3.9 million in OSHA fines over the last decade. 

In November 2013, an explosion set off a fire in the refinery’’ cracking unit, killing a 46-year-old employee. The blast erupted immediately after the facility experienced a widespread power outage, triggering an emergency shutdown. Federal investigators determined that Chevron’s failure to properly train employees on emergency shutdown protocols contributed to the deadly blast.
Five years later, a contract worker fell to his death inside the refinery’s processing unit.

Common Refinery Explosion Injuries

Refinery explosions are catastrophic events that can lead to various injuries, some of which can be life-threatening or cause long-term health issues. The most common injuries resulting from refinery explosions include:

  • Burn Injuries: Refinery workers can suffer burns when exposed to flammable substances, explosive chemicals, or intense heat generated during the explosion. Depending on the severity, treatment typically involves immediate first aid, such as cooling the burn with clean water, followed by specialized medical care, including wound cleaning, skin grafts, and infection prevention.
  • Traumatic Injuries: Refinery workers often suffer fractures, dislocations, head and spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries due to the force of the explosion, flying debris, or structural damage caused by the blast. Traumatic injuries can also occur when workers are struck by objects, thrown against surfaces, or trapped in collapsing structures. Treatment for traumatic injuries often involves stabilizing the victim, addressing life-threatening conditions first, and then providing surgical or non-surgical interventions as needed.
  • Respiratory Injuries: Inhalation of toxic fumes, gases, or smoke during a refinery explosion can cause damage to the airways and lungs. Respiratory injuries can range from mild irritation to chemical pneumonitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or long-term lung damage. Treatment may involve oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, and supportive care for respiratory distress.  The most severe cases may require mechanical ventilation.
  • Eye Injuries: Flying debris, chemicals, or intense light produced by a refinery explosion can cause eye injuries, including e corneal abrasions, chemical burns to the eyes, foreign object penetration, and retinal damage. Treatment varies depending on the type of eye injury but may include flushing the eyes with clean water, applying eye ointments, or surgery in cases of severe damage.
  • Hearing Loss:  The loud noise generated by a refinery explosion can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. Depending on the severity, victims may experience ringing in the ears (tinnitus), difficulty hearing conversations, a sensation of muffled or dulled hearing, or total deafness in one or both ears. Treatment options for hearing loss may include hearing aids or cochlear implants for permanent hearing loss.
  • Psychological Trauma:  Refinery explosion survivors often experience psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and survivor’s guilt. Treatment may involve counseling, therapy, medication, and support groups to help individuals cope with and recover from psychological trauma.

Plant and Refinery Explosions are Preventable

There’s a common theme in every plant, refinery and oilfield explosion case that we’ve been involved with: every single explosion was preventable.

 In fact, the most common causes of refinery explosions and fires are entirely within the control of refinery operators and management:

  • Flammable Materials: The presence of highly flammable materials such as crude oil, natural gas, and various hydrocarbons in refineries increases the risk of explosions.
  • Chemical Reactions: Uncontrolled chemical reactions, especially exothermic reactions, can generate heat and pressure, leading to explosions. Examples include polymerization, decomposition, or reactions involving incompatible chemicals.
  • Equipment Failure: Mechanical failures in equipment like pumps, compressors, valves, or storage tanks can result in leaks, overpressure, or fires that may lead to explosions.
  • Corrosion and Erosion: Over time, corrosion and erosion can weaken equipment and piping, making them more susceptible to failure, leaks, and subsequent explosions.
  • Lack of Maintenance: Poorly maintained equipment and infrastructure can result in deterioration, leaks, and potential ignition sources.
  • Ignition Sources: Ignition sources, such as sparks, open flames, static electricity, electrical faults, or hot surfaces, can trigger explosions if they come into contact with flammable materials.
  • Leaks and Spills: The release of flammable liquids or gases due to leaks, spills, or ruptures can create explosive atmospheres if not promptly contained and managed.
  • Overpressurization: Overpressure events, often caused by blocked pipes, faulty relief valves, or improper process control, can result in equipment failures and explosions.
  • Inadequate Ventilation: Poor ventilation can allow the accumulation of flammable gases or vapors, increasing the risk of explosions in confined spaces.
  • Incompatible Chemicals: Mixing incompatible chemicals can lead to chemical reactions, releasing hazardous gases or substances that can cause explosions.
  • Inadequate Safety Systems: The absence or malfunction of safety systems, such as fire detection and suppression systems, emergency shutdown systems, or gas detection systems, can exacerbate the risk of explosions.
  • Inadequate Training and Procedures: Lack of proper training and safety procedures for refinery workers can result in unsafe practices and inadequate response during emergencies.
  • Aging Infrastructure: Older refineries may have outdated equipment and infrastructure that are more prone to failures and accidents.
  • Lack of Regulatory Compliance: Failure to adhere to safety regulations and industry standards can result in unsafe practices that increase the likelihood of refinery explosions.

Whether the owner or operator failed to follow federal or state safety rules to cut costs and increase profits or violated standard operating procedures or company safety policies, there’s always more of an emphasis on increasing profits and meeting deadlines than on worker safety.

As our Plant Explosion Attorneys discussed in an interview with the Houma Times, this only appears to be getting worse.

Between 2019 and 2022, for example, there were more plant and refinery explosions in Texas and Louisiana than over the previous 5 years combined.

Unless companies are forced to take responsibility and FULLY compensate the workers and family members of those they’ve injured, companies will continue to place profit first and workers will continue to be seriously injured and tragically killed in catastrophes that could (and should) have been avoided.

We Recover Record-Setting Settlements and Verdicts as Quickly as Possible so that Our Clients and their Families Can Move On with their Lives

While every case is unique, our goal is always the same: to hold reckless companies accountable and ensure that our clients and their families are fully and fairly compensated for all their injuries and financial losses.

We achieve this goal by hiring the brightest and best lawyers and staff, working harder and being more prepared than our opponents, and devoting whatever time and resources are necessary to maximizing the value of each and every case.

This approach has not only resulted in the largest verdicts and settlements in history, but, more importantly, has enabled our clients care and provide for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives.

But we don’t just set records for our clients, we also do everything possible to resolve their cases quickly.

For example, while it took many law firms over 5 years to resolve their cases against BP and Transocean following the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, our Explosion Lawyers were able to negotiate a highly favorable (and confidential) settlement less than 18 months after the explosion on behalf of 5 workers injured onboard the rig.

Largest Individual Burn Settlement in History + $100 Million Settlement for Workers Injured in Plant Explosion

Our Refinery Accident Lawyers don’t just win for industrial workers who were seriously injured, catastrophically burned, and tragically killed in connection with the biggest plant, refinery, pipeline, and workplace explosions in history – we set records.

Just recently, we secured the #1 Largest Burn Injury Settlement in History for a contractor who suffered third-degree burns to 55% of his body when an oil well blewout during a workover project.

We set another record with a  $100 Million settlement on behalf of a group of workers injured in a refinery explosion after overcoming the plant owner’s attempts to limit our clients to less than $50,000 in workers’ compensation benefits.

Some of the other record-setting victories we’ve obtained for plant and refinery accident victims throughout Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and the United States include:

  • highly favorable (and confidential) settlements for the families of 3 of the 4 workers who were tragically killed during the Williams Station 62 explosion in Gibson, Louisiana
  • highly favorable (and confidential) settlements for over 65 workers injured during the Williams explosion in Geismar, Louisiana
  • highly favorable (and confidential) settlements for 5 of the workers who were working onboard the BP Deepwater Horizon when it tragically exploded
  • $75 Million Settlement for workers injured in refinery explosion
  • $85 Million Settlement for injured refinery contractors

Contact Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers for a Free Consultation at 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here 

Having won Billions for industrial workers in connection with the most catastrophic plant, refinery and workplace explosions in history, our Plant and Refinery Explosion Lawyers have seen the extraordinary lengths that companies will go to avoid responsibility when workers and contractors are seriously injured and killed.

If you or a loved one were injured or tragically killed in a plant, refinery, oilfield, or pipeline accident or explosion, contact our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers for a free consultation at 1-888-603-3636 or click here to send us a confidential email through our “Contact Us” form.

All consultations are free and confidential, and you won’t pay us a dime unless we win your case.

Plant and Refinery Explosion Video Resources

Recent Review:

5/5 Stars

“My husband almost lost his life in a refinery explosion and lawyers didn’t stop calling us. We wanted nothing to do with them, because we wanted to find the best on our own. We found Ryan from a friend who worked with their firm before, and everything instantly became easier for us. They got my husband to the best burn injury surgeon, who made his burns almost unnoticeable, got rid of his constant pain, and gave him his life back! His medications were delivered to our front door and when he needed transportation they supplied it for him. Zehl and Associates are hands down the best personal injury lawyers. As we know communication is the biggest problem with law firms. After you obtain a lawyer it is hard to speak with him afterward. These guys treat you like family not a client. As far as the outcome, they far exceeded our expectations. WE CAN’T BE HAPPIER! If you want results these are the guys. I could go on about these guys but words won’t do justice. THANKS ZEHL AND ASSOCIATES!”

– Patrick Bridges