The ExxonMobil refinery in Beaumont, Texas was the scene of a flash fire Wednesday morning in one of its processing units. Three workers were severely burned in the oil refinery fire, according to first responders. Three additional workers were taken to local hospitals for treatment.
Some sources reported that, in addition to burn injuries, at least two workers fell from heights in the flash refinery fire. In total, 12 workers were reported as injured. Exxon has not yet determined the cause of the flames but has promised to thoroughly investigate the refinery accident.
Initial reports have speculated that the fire broke out while welders were working on a hydrotreater heat exchanger.
Oil refineries throughout the United States continue to be a dangerous place to work. A report by the United Steelworkers estimated that a fire breaks out weekly at least one refinery in the country. Workplace burn injuries can be particularly devastating. Burn injuries create the potential for serious infection during the healing process and can lead to scarring and disfigurement.
The recovery process after a severe workplace burn injury can be long, painful and expensive. Often the pain associated with healing burns is underestimated and unexpected by the injured worker. Achieving the best possible outcome after a burn injury often requires a team of dedicated medical professionals who can help a burn victim relearn life skills as well as job skills based on any mobility limitations caused by serious burn injuries.
Workplace fires can cause respiratory issues and lung damage as well when workers are exposed to smoke and fumes.
Source: KHOU, “At least 6 people burned, two others hurt at ExxonMobil Refinery in Beaumont,” April 17, 2013