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We’re on the Job with Refinery and Worksite Injuries

Refinery and chemical plant on-the-job injuries can occur as the result of many things, including poor training, defective equipment, cuts to safety spending and other company actions. Workers should not have to suffer the consequences of poor company decisions.  Companies that are responsible for such injuries should be held accountable. It’s important that they appropriately provide for those injured and the families of those killed.

At the Edwards Law Firm, we know refinery and worksite injury case law. And we work to be sure our clients’ life and recovery needs are fully met. This not only includes appropriate funds to cover loss of income, medical expenses, and on-going care for employees who survived, but fair life benefits for the surviving families of employees who have been killed.

One client was terribly burned in a refinery explosion. Another died when a container lid collapsed at a chemical plant. Both suffered needlessly due to bad decisions made by supervisors or high-ups. Both families got our best legal efforts from day one.  And both received compensation to meet their needs in order to move ahead with their lives – all thanks to our dedicated team. We continue to help many facing this issue.

Case Study: Worker Falls into Vat of Chemicals; Edwards Proves Gross Negligence

It was the stuff of nightmares. A plant worker was working as a shift operator for American Chrome & Chemical when the tank lid he was standing on suddenly collapsed, plunging him into a vat of caustic chemicals. He died in the tank.

His death left his widow and two young children devastated. They wanted to know what happened, so they contacted the Edwards Law Firm. The Firm’s subsequent investigation showed the company knew the top of the tank was condemned when they sent this man to work on it. Jurors found the company was guilty of gross negligence and they awarded punitive damages to the family.

Before the court could enter a judgment on the jury’s verdict, the company settled. We joined with the client to establish a $1 million endowed chair in industrial safety at Texas A & M’s Corpus Christi campus, which is still helping to make workers safer today.

Case Study: Cost-Cutting Revealed in Refinery Explosion that Seriously Burns Three

Construction of the Qualitech Steel plant was almost finished. The next step was to run through a start-up to make sure everything was working as it should. It wasn’t. Designed to produce iron carbide from iron ore through a high-pressure, high-temperature process, the refinery’s final stage vessel and output were not releasing the final product. The director of Qualitech Operations and Construction was checking on the vessel when an explosion ripped through the pit where it was located, severely burning him and two other workers.

The Edwards Law Firm’s investigation showed that corporate cost-cutting had altered the design of the vessel, causing it to malfunction. Further, the company responsible for designing and building the plant – Kawasaki Heavy Industries – failed to install computer interlocks, safety mechanisms and emergency shut-down systems that would have prevented the explosion.

The director’s injuries were substantial, his medical expenses enormous, his pain and suffering excruciating. The long-term quality of his life and that of his wife were forever altered. The verdict won by the Edwards Law Firm held Kawasaki responsible for the vessel’s defective design, and found Kawasaki guilty of gross negligence. Before the jury was asked to award punitive damages, Kawasaki settled in the courtroom for a confidential amount. The company responsible for the director’s injuries was held responsible and made accountable.

Going up against big chemical and refining companies takes resources, years of experience and the confidence that comes from winning cases against them. Located in the energy-producing corridor of the Texas coast, the Edwards Law Firm has been representing injured chemical and oil and gas company workers for more than 50 years.


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My client, in honor of her deceased husband, insisted that the corporation responsible for her husband’s death establish a million-dollar endowed chair at Texas A&M Corpus Christi in his name dedicated to industrial safety. What happens in these cases is sometimes beneficial for everybody.

William R. Edwards