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Representing Injured Workers Since 1955

Chevron oil refinery fire garners $2 million award

State and federal laws regarding safety in the workplace help to keep employees from unnecessary illness or injury. Unfortunately, the laws cannot prevent all problems or accidents at work sites. The process for filing workers' compensation or even pursuing lawsuits against companies for unsafe conditions and practices is available in the event of a workplace illness or accident.

Such an example is a 2012 fire at Chevron's Richmond oil refinery that sent more than 15,000 workers to the hospital with a variety of ailments including discomfort in the lungs. Investigators found that a corroded pipe was to blame for the fire. Further investigation found that the pipe that failed causing the fire had been recommended for replacement multiple times over several years yet Chevron did not take action.

Chevron was cited for six different violations of safety, health and labor laws including faulty equipment, failure to protect employees from hazardous conditions or exposure to hazardous situations and negligence relating to emissions at the refinery. The total amount of all fines and restitution fees to be paid by Chevron is $2 million and includes payment to government agencies as well as local community members. The lawsuit was aimed at protecting the public and working to ensure all employees at the refinery have safer work conditions.

Work-related illness can have long-term effects and even require long-term medical care. Companies are obligated to provide all employees with a healthy working environment. If you believe that you suffer from any occupational disease, discussing your situation with an experienced attorney may be helpful.

Source: The Reporter, "Chevron to pay $2 million for refinery violations," Robert Rogers and Malaika Fraley, August 6, 2013

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