Is The LyondellBasell Houston Refinery A Ticking Time Bomb?

What is going on at the LyondellBasell refinery in Houston?  Recently:

- One of the world's largest cranes collapsed at the refinery, killing four workers and injuring many others;

- A huge fire erupted in an area where many contract workers were conducting operations, resulting in multiple injuries;

- A worker fell to his death at the refinery;

These represent just some of the injuries and fatalities at this refinery during the past two years.

Lyondell investigation documents as to the most recent injury event - the May 17, 2010 fire - reveal information that should be of concern to everyone who works at the plant and everyone who lives near it.  For example, safety procedures were "not followed," unsafe practices were "not addressed," and "levels of risk" were "not recognized."

Does this information reflect a disregard for safety at this plant?  If so, what exactly is the risk?

LyondellBasell says this refinery is one of the largest refineries designed to process heavy, high-sulfur crude oil.  Is it a risk if a fire occurs at this refinery?  Could that cause the whole thing to blow up?  What could happen if the entire refinery blows up?  How many people could be injured or killed?

It seems that LyondellBasell should evaluate safety at its refinery before more accidents occur.  It seems like it would be an excellent idea for the company to hire an independent, outside safety consulting company to come in and evaluate all aspects of safety at its plant.  LyondellBasell should pay such a company to provide a comprehensive report on safety at this plant, and then make this document publicly available.

Vuk Stevan Vujasinovic
Experienced Injury Lawyer. First Generation American. Life-Long Texan. Husband. Father.