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Refinery Officials Attempt to Block Federal Investigation

Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014    

A Northern California refinery is attempting to block a federal investigation into possible chemical leaks that may have seriously injured two workers.

The United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has notified the chief executive of Tesoro Corporation that the company is refusing to cooperate with investigators. The letter claims that the officials of Tesoro have not allowed the board members to return to the Martinez, California, site where they want to conduct interviews. Further, the company has refused the government access to certain documents related to a February 12 incident in which two employees suffered serious burns from sulfuric acid.

Investigators believe that a mechanical failure occurred, causing flammable hydrocarbons and sulfuric acid to spray out onto the workers. They also believe that the required protective gear the employees were supposed to be wearing was not provide for them by the company.

Tesoro Corporation’s failure to cooperate with federal investigators violates federal statutes, according to the board. The board claims that the company may be hiding more serious infractions, while Tesoro claims the incident was not serious enough to warrant a federal investigation.

Workers’ Rights, Workers’ Comp and Federal Regulations

Workers are protected by certain state and federal laws in the United States. All employees are protected by wage and hour laws, for example, both at the federal and state level. However, some employees enjoy additional protection in the form of special regulations governing their particular fields of work. The petroleum industry is one that is governed by special regulations regarding worker safety.

When a petroleum refinery is opened in the United States, the company agrees to abide by certain rules. The company is subject to periodic inspections and is expected to comply with all reasonable requests by governing agencies.

Employees who are injured on job like this may have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to pay for their medical bills. However, there may be more involved than a simple workers’ compensation claim. If a third-party is involved, for example, the workers may be entitled to other forms of compensation as well.

If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident, you may want to speak to a personal injury attorney about your case. Amerio Law Group handles all types of employee accident cases, and our knowledgeable attorneys can help you learn how to handle your injury claim most effectively.

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