A death at a Texas refinery on May 11 owned by ExxonMobil was the third at that location since 2013 and the second at an area refinery over the past year. A 37-year-old man was hit in the head and neck by a falling pipe as he worked on a heat exchanger. The man was an employee of industrial engineering company Altair Strickland. He died at the scene.
The accident occurred during what is known as a “turnaround.” This involves breaking down various piece of equipment and checking to see if they need repairs, and according to one former worker, the environment is generally more chaotic during a turnaround.
The previous accident at the same location, which left 12 injured and two dead, also occurred during a turnaround. That was a 2013 fire that started in a heat exchanger. This third death has put a greater focus on the issue of safety during turnarounds. The previous refinery death in the past year occurred when a man was using a bulldozer instead of a crane to work near a coke pit. He did so because two companies had been arguing for several months about who was supposed to pay for the cost of repairing the crane according to the lawsuit filed by his widow.
Although workers’ compensation benefits are usually associated with workplace injuries, there may be death benefits available to the surviving family members of covered workers who are killed on the job. An attorney can describe the types of benefits that a family may qualify for as well as the procedure involved in filing a claim for them.
Source: Beaumont Enterprise, “Worker Killed In ExxonMobil Refinery Accident,” Eric Besson, May 16, 2016