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TPC Group Chemical Plant Explosion in Port Neches, Texas Injures Three Workers, Forces Evacuation

active-ash-cloud-ashes-blaze-417070-300x199Several explosions at the TPC Group chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas caused three worker injuries in late November, but the impact didn’t stop there. Some plant neighbors miles away saw damage to their homes or properties. It is not yet known if either the injured workers or the impacted homeowners have hired an attorney.

The incident started at 1:00 a.m.  on November 27th. The explosion at the plant, which creates products for petroleum and chemical businesses, damaged windows and doors of residences in the surrounding area. The accident reportedly set three tanks on fire and released burning butadiene (a gas used to create plastics and synthetic rubber) into the air. Butadiene is considered a health hazard that can cause cancer and cardiovascular disease, sources say, but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reported that the quantities released were not hazardous. 

The resulting fire continued burning into the morning hours while plant management accounted for all employees. At 2:30 p.m., a second explosion forced officials to announce an evacuation of the surrounding area within a four-mile radius of the plant. The order affected tens of thousands of area residents.

No information is known as of yet regarding the factors that contributed to the explosion nor the chain of events that precipitated it. The identities of the injured parties is also unknown; they reportedly included two employees and a contractor. All three were reportedly treated and released from a local hospital. 

While there were some minor injuries sustained by residents, most official warnings centered on turning off ventilation systems that could cause those nearby to inhale more of the toxic smoke emanating from the explosion. Officials also cautioned anyone traveling through the area to avoid it if possible due to potential health risks. 

The most recent similar explosion at a Florida chemical plant occurred in Jacksonville and caused the deaths of four workers. In 2016, more than 300 fatal work injuries occurred in Florida—the highest number seen in the state in more than a decade. It was a bleaker story nationwide, with more than 5,000 injuries up from around 4,800 the year before. 

Injury breakdown has varied nationally and in Florida. Nationwide, 40 percent of injuries were transportation related; 16 percent were falls, slips, and trips; 10 percent were from exposure to harmful substances or environments; 17 percent were from violence; and another 17 percent were from other unlisted causes. In Florida, 34 percent of injuries were transportation related;  21 percent were falls, slips, and trips; 16 percent were from exposure to harmful substances or environments; 16 percent were from violence; and 14 percent were from other unlisted causes. 

Clearly, workplace hazards abound both nationwide and in the state of Florida. Accidents on the job are not new to those who work in labor-intensive or delicate occupations. Acting quickly is key to helping ensure you get the compensation you deserve. 

South Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you or your loved one was injured due to a workplace accident, you should hire an attorney. Contact us for a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced workers’ compensation defense attorneys.

Sources: 12.3.19 Chemical Plant Explosion, 12.3.19 Work Fatalities Florida Stats