Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. In Texas, those factors occur on an ongoing basis all summer long. We know that ongoing exposure to extreme heat is a danger to workers, but it can also impact materials and machinery. So does extremely hot weather increase the risk of Texas plant explosions? It can certainly be a contributing factor.
Refinery and plant explosions can be broken down into three main categories – poor maintenance, dirty chemicals, and safety violations. Maintaining the high tech equipment used at refineries is a full time job and unseen corrosion can weaken metal, reducing a pipe’s capacity to withstand high pressures. However, when a refinery company attempts to cut corners by cutting down on maintenance, a refinery explosion is often the result.
Last week, a chemical plant in Hood County caught fire, causing injuries to several workers and at least one fatality. While authorities are not yet sure what caused the chemical plant explosions, the resulting fire caused toxic plumes of smoke to be visible for miles.
The oil industry in Lubbock and throughout the state of Texas has always been one of the most dangerous industries anywhere, and as the current oil and gas boom continues, the risk of catastrophic accidents continues unabated. Unfortunately, the increase in demand has created a belief that profits trump worker safety, so the overall safety record of the industry has taken a hit, even as its profits have risen., and Texas oil refinery explosions have occurred.