On April 17, 2013, an explosion at the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West, Texas resulted in 15 fatalities, more than 160 injuries, and more than 150 damaged and destroyed buildings. The devastation that occurred to the West community was tragic and is still being dealt with by local residents and families.
Now, six months after the horrific explosion, federal regulators are considering new ways to improve safety measures when storing and processing dangerous chemicals. Companies that engage in high-risk industries – including oil and gas production, refineries, and other industries that handle hazardous chemicals – are required to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of workers and nearby residents. When they fail to do so, they increase risks of industrial accidents, plant and refinery explosions, personal injury, and wrongful death.
Although regulations were in place, it was soon discovered that both the fertilizer facility and government regulators failed in their duties to ensure high safety standards. Their mistakes came at a costly price, and regulators are now intent on preventing similar tragedies in the future. In order to achieve this objective, regulators are pushing for more routine monitoring of facilities that handle dangerous chemicals. Congress is also considering the use of new facilities shaped like igloos to reduce the risk of widespread harm and destruction.
Finding new, innovative ways to protect workers and local residents from preventable harm is crucial, but companies are still required to uphold their duties as well. When employers fail in some way to address safety concerns or are otherwise negligent in the processing, storage, or handling of hazardous chemicals, victims and families may have a right to pursue legal recourse by filing a personal injury claim.
If you or a loved one has recently suffered harm as the result of an explosion or industrial accident, you can find the support and experienced legal representation you need at The Daspit Law Firm. To discuss your case with a Houston personal injury lawyer, call (713) 364-0915 or fill out a free case evaluation form.