After two workers were injured in a chemical release at a California refinery on Feb. 12, the United Steelworkers union has called for Tesoro Corp. to create a safety program that truly protects workers, the surrounding community and the environment. The union released a statement saying that the company downplayed the extent of the employees’ injuries in order to get around further scrutiny from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, otherwise known as the CSB.
The accident, which occurred at Tesoro’s Golden Eagle facility outside of Martinez, California, happened just weeks after the CSB deemed Tesoro’s safety measures “deficient” in connection with a 2010 blast that took the lives of seven employees at a refinery in Washington.
In fact, it was reported that Tesoro challenged the CSB’s right to investigate the accident that injured the two California workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is apparently still looking into the cause of the chemical leak.
The steelworkers union claims that Tesoro’s “constant downward pressure to produce” has compromised the safety of workers and the community surrounding the plant.
When an injurious work accident happens at a large company’s facility, often the company springs into action to limit liability in whatever way possible. In any case, California employees should be prepared to seek the maximum amount of workers’ compensation, as employers and their insurance companies are often well prepared to minimize that compensation.
With injuries related to chemical spills, workers may need to be especially cautious, since the full extent of the injury may not be immediately apparent. A workers’ compensation attorney can help assess the full cost of a work-related injury in order to maximize workers’ comp benefits.
Source: San Antonio Business Journal, “Union blasts Tesoro on accident at California refinery,” Sanford Nowlin, Feb. 24, 2014