This is an aerial view of the area where the contractor trailers once stood at BP39s Texas City refinery Fifteen workers died in an explosion and fire at the site A decade after BPrsquos trailers blew apart Marathon Petroleum Co which now owns the location set up three lunch tents on the same ground once littered with bodies and debris Production won out over safety erecting the tents farther away slowed work down and hampered productivity during a 2013 turnaround U.S. Chemical Safety Board

This is an aerial view of the area where the contractor trailers once stood at BP's Texas City refinery. Fifteen workers died in an explosion and fire at the site. A decade after BP’s trailers blew apart, Marathon Petroleum Co., which now owns the location, set up three lunch tents on the same ground once littered with bodies and debris. Production won out over safety; erecting the tents farther away slowed work down and hampered productivity during a 2013 turnaround.

A Deadly Industry

Assembled data shows how and where U.S. refinery workers continue to die.

This is an aerial view of the devastation at BP's Texas City operation in 2005. The refinery was purchased by Marathon Petroleum Co., which set up three lunch tents on the ground once littered with debris and bodies. Production won out over safety; erecting the tents farther away slowed work down and hampered productivity during a 2013 turnaround.
(This article originally was published by the Texas Tribune in partnership with the Houston Chronicle on March 22, 2015. It is published as written and used with permission.)

How many people die at oil refineries each year?

Longstanding federal record-keeping practices make it incredibly tough to answer that simple question.

The public can easily search data at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which records deaths and injuries reported across all industries. But typing the code for “Petroleum Refining” – 2911 – into the agency’s query tool only reveals a small fraction of all who died at refineries.

Oil refiners have increasingly contracted out some of their most dangerous jobs to companies that are classified elsewhere in the federal system.

The many categories include “3443, Fabricated Plate Work,” “1799, Special Trade Contractors, Not Elsewhere Classified” and “1629, Heavy Construction, Not Elsewhere Classified.”

In the 2005 Texas City blast, for instance, all of the 15 workers killed were contractors. None of their deaths show up in the federal government’s annual tally for the refining industry.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking contractors’ deaths at refineries for the first time in 2011, but still misses incidents, records show.

The following is a list of all refinery deaths that The Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle could confirm after an exhaustive search that included OSHA records, government investigation reports, newspaper archives and legal filings.

At least 64 people died at refineries in the 10 years before the BP explosion. At least 58 people have died since March 23, 2005.

This list includes all deaths on refinery grounds discovered through various searches. Few deaths that appear to be from natural causes are included.

Jan. 12, 2015 – Citgo Petroleum, Corpus Christi, TX

One death: Robert Wilkinson, 53. Incident summary: Wilkinson died from injuries sustained in a fall. (More Information: Article from Corpus Christi Caller Times )

Jan. 2, 2015 – PBF Energy, Gibbstown, NJ

One death: Gary Grimming, 63. Incident summary: Grimming, a contractor for G.C. Zarnas Corp., was killed by a malfunctioning air compressor. (More information: Article from NJ.com )

Sept. 23, 2014 – Midland Refining, Wichita, KS

One death: Tony Losey, 22. Incident summary: Losey, a highly ranked amateur boxer, was working for Boardman LLC, a steel plate manufacturer, when an empty refinery tank weighing 12,000 pounds fell on him. (More information: Article from The Wichita Eagle )

Nov. 15, 2013 – Chevron USA, Pascagoula, MS

One death: Tonya Graddy, 49. Incident summary: Graddy, a Chevron employee, was killed after an explosion and fire in the furnace of a cracking unit. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Gulflive.com )

April 17, 2013 – ExxonMobil, Beaumont, TX

Two deaths: Dustin Creekmore and Chad McDonald. Incident summary: A flash fire burned four employees working on a heat exchanger, sending them to the hospital. Two later died. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Beaumont Enterprise )

March 13, 2013 – Motiva Enterprises, Norco, LA

One death: Michael Louque, 56. Incident summary: Louque worked for River Parish Maintenance. He was crushed by cylinders that rolled off a truck. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Times-Picayune )

Feb. 18, 2013 – Valero Energy Corp., Ardmore, OK

One death. Incident summary: A contractor died while working in a confined space at a crude oil refinery. Valero said it was a health issue that wasn’t work-related. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Reuters )

Dec. 3, 2012 – Valero Energy Corp., Memphis, TN

One death: Daniel Tittle, 50. Incident summary: The sight glass of a flow indicator ruptured, releasing flying glass and a poisonous mixture of hydrofluoric acid and propane into the maintenance worker's face. Tittle died from his injuries at a nearby hospital. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from The Commercial Appeal (Memphis) )

Sept. 28, 2012 – CVR Refining, Wynnewood, OK

Two deaths: Russell Mann, 45; Billy Smith, 34. Incident summary: A boiler explosion killed the two employees. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from The Oklahoman )

Aug. 14, 2012 – Total Petrochemicals, Port Arthur, TX

One death: James Keith Hudnall, 65. Incident summary: Hudnall, a contractor with Mason Construction, was killed when a pipe fell on him while he was laying pipe inside a trench. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Beaumont Enterprise )

April 11, 2012 – Alon USA, Big Spring, TX

One death: Maria Patricia Cardenas, 57. Incident summary: Cardenas, a contractor with One Source Industrial, was struck and killed by a train while driving a vacuum truck across railroad tracks. (More information: OSHA Report, News Article )

March 6, 2012 – Valero Energy Corp., Memphis, TN

One death: Nicolas Cuevas, 35. Incident summary: An explosion and fire severely burned Nicolas Cuevas, his brother Daniel Reyes Cuevas and Guadalupe Torres. Nicholas Cuevas died four days later, and his brother was left largely incapacitated. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from The Commercial Appeal (Memphis) )

July 5, 2011 – ConocoPhillips, Hartford, IL

One death: Bradley Edmund, 38. Incident summary: Edmund, with Matrix Service Industrial Contractors, fell 40 feet from a tank scaffold. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Associated Press )

June 22, 2011 – BP Carson, CA

One death: William Wise, 54. Incident summary: Wise, of Irvine, Cal., was pinned between a railcar and a loading rack at the refinery. (More information: Article from Daily Breeze )

March 6, 2011 – Valero Energy Corp., Norco, LA

One death: Rodrigo Rodriguez, 30. Incident summary: Rodriguez, a Koch Specialty Plant Service contractor, was performing maintenance on a tower when hydrogen sulfide gas knocked him out. He fell 100 feet. (More information: Article from San Antonio Express News )

Oct. 6, 2010 – Chalmette Refining, Chalmette, LA

One Death: Gregory Starkey, 33 Incident summary: Starkey was not supplied enough air while with a helper inside a hydrogen sulfide unit. As he was leaving the job, he slumped over. (More information: Article from The Times-Picayune )

May 27, 2010 – Shell Oil, Wilmington, CA

One death. Incident summary: A worker with Securitas Security Services USA unexpectedly dropped to the ground on duty. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The determined cause of death was arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. (More information: OSHA Report)

April 19, 2010 – Motiva Enterprises, Port Arthur, TX

One death: Stewart Shaver, 41. Incident summary: A 44,000-pound counterweight tray plummeted from a boom crane, crushing Shaver. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Beaumont Enterprise )

April 2, 2010 – Tesoro, Anacortes, WA

Seven deaths: Daniel J. Aldridge, 50; Matthew C. Bowen, 31; Darrin J. Hoines, 43; Kathryn Powell, 28; Donna Van Dreumel, 36; Matt Gumbel, 34; Lew Janz, 41. Incident summary: A damaged heat exchanger ruptured, spewing 500-degree gases that engulfed the unit in a toxic orange cloud that killed seven workers. All died within 22 days. (More information: OSHA Report, News Article )

March 2, 2010 – HollyFrontier, Artesia, NM

Two deaths: Natividad Andajo and Victor Villa. Incident summary; A welder ignited vapors from flammable liquids within a tank, triggering an explosion that killed Andajo and Villa – both from West, Texas – and injured two others. (More information: OSHA Report, News Article )

Jan. 22, 2010 – LyondellBasell, Houston, TX

One death: Earl Boring, 49. Incident summary: Boring fell to his death from the tower of a non-operational unit. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Houston Chronicle )

Dec. 4, 2009 – Valero Energy Corp., Texas City, TX

One death: Tommy Manis, 40. Incident summary: Manis, of Alvin, was lighting a pilot on a boiler in a steam unit when the boiler catastrophically failed. One other worker was injured. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Reuters )

Nov. 5, 2009 – Husky Energy, Lima, OH

One death: Adrian John Flores, 59. Incident summary: Flores fell from an aerial lift and was killed. He was wearing a full body harness with lanyard, but was not tied off to the aerial lift platform. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from LimaOhio.com )

April 29, 2009 – Shell Oil, Martinez, CA

One death: William Maddock, 54. Incident summary: Maddock fell into a water tank and drowned when he was unable to escape. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from San Jose Mercury News )

April 24, 2009 – Marathon Petroleum, Garyville, LA

One death: Jeremy Nuspliger, 22. Incident summary: Nuspliger, with Performance Contractors, fell 40 feet through a floor opening. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Nola.com )

April 11, 2009 – ExxonMobil, Torrance, CA

One death: Nelson Tan, 50. Incident summary: Tan, an ExxonMobil employee, was burned on the back and front of his body by 212-degree Fahrenheit water, steam and steam condensate from an unbolted flange. He died more than two weeks later. (More information: Article from InsideBayAreaNews.com )

March 7, 2009 – Total Petrochemicals, Port Arthur, TX

One death: Patric Whittower, 24. Incident summary: Whittower, a contractor for McKinney Drilling Company, was struck in the head and killed by the headache ball of a 50-ton crane. (More Information: OSHA Report, Article from Beaumont Enterprise )

Nov. 20, 2008 – Delek Refining Ltd., Tyler, TX

Two deaths: James Hammett, 52, and James Dale Sharman, 49. Incident summary: Hammett and Sharman – both from Tyler – were killed in an explosion and fire after a line ruptured at the saturated gas unit. Three others were injured. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Law 360 )

Oct. 9, 2008 – BP, Texas City, TX

One death: Ramon SiFuentes, 35. Incident summary: SiFuentes, 35, of La Marque, was killed when a backhoe lifting a piece of equipment tipped forward and crushed him. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Houston Chronicle )

July 18, 2008 – LyondellBasell, Houston, TX

Four deaths: Marion "Scooter" Hubert Odom III, 41; John D. Henry, 33; Daniel "DJ" Lee Johnson, 30; and Rocky Dale Strength, 30. Incident summary: Four contract workers were killed and seven were injured when one of the world’s largest mobile cranes collapsed at the refinery ahead of a turnaround. (More information: OSHA Report, News Article )

Jan. 15, 2008 – BP, Texas City, TX

One death: William Joseph Gracia, 56. Incident summary: Gracia was killed when a lid blew off a pressurized water filter system and struck him. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Houston Chronicle )

Dec. 1, 2007 – Marathon Petroleum, St. Paul Park, MN

One death: Nick Gunter, 29. Incident summary: Gunther, an operator in the blending unit, was found burned inside a tank that exploded. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Star Tribune (Minneapolis) )

Oct. 22, 2007 – ConocoPhillips, Westlake, LA

One death: Alton Charles Washington, 46. Incident summary: The Gulf Services Industrial contractor was operating a vacuum truck when he inhaled deadly chemicals including hydrogen sulfide and possibly methyl mercaptan. (More information: OSHA Report)

Aug. 9, 2007 – Motiva Enterprises, Port Arthur, TX

One death: Emery Bowie, 25. Incident summary: Bowie, a contractor, was driving a bulldozer that suddenly went in reverse, dragging him 60 yards into Alligator Bayou. His body was crushed between the vehicle's fender and a track. (More information: Article from Beaumont Enterprise)

Aug. 7, 2007 – BP, Cherry Point, WA

One deat: Christopher Primeau, 35. Incident summary: The contractor from Wallula, Wash. was crushed by a 11,000-to-18,000-pound piling that came loose from a massive hammer. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Associated Press )

June 5, 2007 – BP, Texas City, TX

One death: Richard Leining, 44. Incident summary: Leining, a journeyman technician employed by AMEX Electrical Services, was working on an idle residual hydrotreater unit, which was being reconditioned prior to restart. He was electrocuted. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Houston Chronicle )

Aug. 31, 2007 – Marathon Petroleum, Garyville, LA

One death: Jackie Batiste, 34. Incident summary: Batiste, a refrigerated butane storage operator, accidentally drove a company truck into a retention pond at the refinery and drowned. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Nola.com )

Jan. 20, 2007 – Marathon Petroleum, Robinson, IL

One death: Dan Gunraj, 47. Incident summary: Gunraj, a Marathon employee, was killed by hydrogen sulfide exposure. (More information: OSHA Report)

Oct. 22, 2006 – Flint Hills Resources, Corpus Christi, TX

One death: Ramiro Dominguez, 35. Incident summary: Dominguez, a contractor with J.V. Industrial Companies, fell from a ladder and hit his head. (More information: OSHA Report)

July 21, 2006 – BP, Texas City, TX

One death: Ronnie Graves, 52. Incident summary: Graves was trying to connect a process unit to a flare, which is used to safely burn away hydrocarbons. The JV Piping employee was inside the basket of a motorized man-lift when the accident occurred. While repositioning the basket to get closer to a metal beam, he became trapped between the beam and the waist-high control panel inside the basket. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Houston Chronicle )

April 10, 2006 – ConocoPhillips, Wilmington, CA

One death: Mario Vasquez, 25. Incident summary: Contract workers were replacing the bottom of a storage tank when its steel roof fell, killing Vasquez – an employee with HMT Tank Service Inc – and injuring four others. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from LA TImes )

Nov. 5, 2005 – Valero Energy Corp., Delaware City, DE

Two deaths: John A. Lattanzi, 57, and John Ferguson, 29. Incident summary:

The two contract employees were overcome by nitrogen as they performed maintenance work near a 24-inch opening on the top of a reactor. Lattanzi died while attempting to rescue Ferguson. (More information: Article from Chemical Safety Board )

Sept. 14, 2005 – ExxonMobil, Torrance, CA

One death: David Yanez-Plasencia, 61. Incident summary: Yanez-Plasencia, a contractor hired by Ancon Marine, was fatally injured in a fall during the course of his work in the API Separator Unit at the refinery. (More information: OSHA Report)

May 3, 2005 – BP, Cherry Point, WA

One death: Nick Karuza, 58. Incident summary: The Cascade Refinery Services contractor was hydroblasting coke off the walls and shed trays of a tower associated with the delayed coking unit process. He was discovered dead and was floating in approximately 2.5-feet of water underneath scaffolding. BP said the death was from natural causes. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Chemical Safety Board )

March 23, 2005 – BP, Texas City, TX

15 deaths: Glenn Bolton, Lorena Cruz‐Alexander, Rafael "Ralph" Herrera, Jr., Daniel J. Hogan, III, Jimmy Ray Hunnings, Morris "Monk" King, Larry Wayne Linsenbardt, Arthur Galvan Ramos, Ryan Rodriguez, James Warren Rowe, Linda Marie Hammer Rowe, Kimberly Smith, Susan Duhan Taylor, Larry Sheldon Thomas and Eugene White. Incident summary: Most workers had just returned from a safety lunch elsewhere at the refinery. Without warning, operators tried to restart a nearby unit that boosts the octane of gasoline. A stream of flammable liquids shot out from an outdated vent stack, sparking a series of massive explosions that that killed 15 and injured 180. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Houston Chronicle )

Jan. 19, 2005 – Kern Oil and Refining, Bakersfield, CA

One death: Duane Herdt, 49. Incident summary: Herdt was killed and two other Kern Oil employees were injured in an explosion. The workers had been cleaning a series of pumps. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from The Bakersfield Californian )

Sept. 2, 2004 – BP, Texas City, TX

Two deaths: Leonard Moore and Raymond Gonzalez. Incident summary: Three employees working on a boiler feed-water pump were exposed to steam and hot water. Moore and Gonzalez died from serious burns and the other employee was hospitalized and treated for his injuries. (More information: OSHA Report)

June 11, 2004 – Equilon Enterprises, Carson, CA

One death. Incident summary: A contractor with Irwin Industries died from a heart attack at the refinery. The death was later determined to be from natural causes and not work related. (More information: OSHA Report)

April 17, 2004 – CVR Refining, Coffeyville, KS

One death. Incident summary: An employee was using high-pressure water to drill a pilot hole, preparing to cut petroleum coke out of a refinery's coke chamber. The drill hit a hot spot in the coke chamber and the water became steam, burning the employee, who later died at the hospital. (More information: OSHA Report)

Feb. 3, 2004 – Valero Energy Corp., Corpus Christi, TX

One death. Incident summary: Two Cat-Spec contractors were working inside a refinery's reactor vessel that was cleared previously by the site employer for a planned turnaround. They were dressed in multiple clothing layers, including a Tyvek suit for chilly conditions outside, but temperature inside the vessel was above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. One worker died of heat stress and the other was injured. (More Information: OSHA Report)

Jan. 1, 2004 – BP, Whiting, IN

One death: Incident summary: An employee was making security rounds at the plant. A railing broke and he tripped and fell atop a separator cover. He was pronounced dead at a hospital, OSHA said.

Oct. 28, 2003 – Lion Oil Company, El Dorado, AR

One death: Incident summary: A Lion Oil employee was found dead at a bank of oil storage tanks. It was originally thought the 58-year-old was exposed to hydrogen sulfide, but the coroner determined the cause of death was a massive heart attack. (More information: OSHA Report)

Aug. 26, 2003 – ExxonMobil, Baytown, TX

One death: Incident summary: An ExxonMobil worker was cleaning a temporary filter, which exploded. He was severely burned and died 25 days later. (More information: OSHA Report)

July 21, 2003 – ConocoPhillips, Ponca City, OK

One death: Tim Crank, 39. Incident summary: Crank and another employee were removing a vertical pump and motor inside a gas plant. For some reason, a hydrocarbon was released inside the plant, triggering an explosion and fire. Crank died 10 days later. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from The Oklahoman )

July 21, 2003 – ChevronTexaco, Pascagoula, MS

One death: Frank S. Richard, 48. Incident summary: Richard died after falling about 25 feet from a steel structure inside the ChevronTexaco refinery.

April 3, 2003 – ExxonMobil, Torrance, CA

One death: Incident summary: A contractor with Signal Mechanical was electrocuted while installing an air conditioner at the refinery. (More information: OSHA Report)

March 3, 2003 – ExxonMobil, Baytown, TX

One death: Incident summary: An employee was monitoring equipment when he fell to the ground. He was later pronounced dead from a heart attack. (More information: OSHA Report)

Feb. 22, 2003 – Motiva Enterprises, Norco, LA

One death: Incident summary: An employee slipped and fell from a pipe rack, falling 34 feet to his death. (More information: OSHA Report)

Sept. 23, 2002 – Koch Hydrocarbon, Medford, OK

One death: Incident summary: Three contract workers were preparing a gasoline perco treater for catalysis removal – a routine task. A flash fire erupted, killing one worker and injuring two others. (More information: OSHA Report)

June 6, 2002 – Murphy Oil, Meraux, LA

One death: Kevin Taylor, 33. (Incident summary: The pipefitter with Lou-Con Construction was burned to death when he and another employee were removing a large muffler from a 12-in. triangle gate valve. The valve had been in place in the line for approximately 23 years and had not been routinely inspected or maintained, OSHA said. (More information: OSHA Report)

May 22, 2002 – Valero Energy Corp., Paulsboro, NJ

One death: Timothy M. Tillger. Incident summary: The machinery maintenance man entered a shed that was being purged of nitrogen gas. He was discovered unconscious, lying on the shed floor, and was pronounced dead due to asphyxiation. (More information: OSHA Report)

Jan. 31, 2002 – Orion Refining, Norco, LA

One death: Alonzo Stevens, 36. Incident summary: The contractor from Baytown was asphyxiated inside a tank at refinery, according to OSHA.

Jan. 26, 2002 – Tesoro, Anacortes, WA

One death: Johnny J. Rogers. Incident summary: Rogers, a maintenance contractor with CBI Services, Inc., was crushed by a temporary elevator at the refinery. It appears that two coworkers, including Rogers' foreman, were trained on a different type of elevator, OSHA's report said, and did not know that the operator's control box was portable and should have been on top of the elevator. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Yakima Herald-Republic )

Jan. 14, 2002 – Marathon Petroleum – Garyville, LA

One death: Donald Chambers, 39. Incident summary: The Catalyst Process Specialists Inc. contractor was inside a reactor vessel to knock down mounds of catalyst that had clumped together. As the employee began chipping away at the mound, the mound collapsed on Chambers, engulfing him. During his struggle to get free, more and more engulfed him, and eventually, the face seal of the helmet he used for air broke. Supplied air was released from the helmet into the catalyst, causing it to ignite. Chambers died from chemical burns. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from The Lens )

Dec. 1, 2002 – ChevronTexaco, Pascagoula, MS

One death: Chad Grimes, 30. Incident summary: Chad Grimes, 30, was killed and another man injured in a fire while working at the refinery. (More information: Article from wlox.com )

Aug. 8, 2001 – BP, Texas City, TX

One death: Carl Bernard Williams. Incident summary: The RSI Inc. contractor was working on top of a reactor under nitrogen purge. He was overcome by the fumes and vapors and fell into the reactor. He was pulled from the reactor and later pronounced dead at a hospital. The cause was asphyxiation. (More information: OSHA Report)

July 23, 2001 – Necessary Oil Company, Bristol, TN

One death: Allen Raymond Eaton, 61. Incident summary: The furnace operator died from burns when oil spilling from a ruptured overflow line at a reclamation plant ignited and exploded. (More information: OSHA Report)

July 17, 2001 – Motiva Enterprises, Delaware City, DE

One death: Jeffrey Davis, 50. Incident summary: A work crew had been repairing a catwalk above a sulfuric acid storage tank farm when a spark ignited flammable vapors in one of the tanks. This tank had holes in its roof and shell due to corrosion. The tank collapsed, and one the contract workers was killed; eight others were injured. A significant volume of sulfuric acid was released to the environment. Davis' body wasn't recovered. (More information: OSHA Report, Article from Chemical Safety Board )

June 13, 2001 – Colorado Refining Company, Commerce City, CO

One death: Dominick Mustache, 48. Incident summary: Mustache fell 12 feet from a ladder while performing utilities maintenance. He later died from his injuries. (More information: OSHA Report)

Feb. 22, 2001 – ExxonMobil, Torrance, CA

One death. Incident summary: A contractor with International Catalyst was vacuuming hydrophoric catalyst material in an inert nitrogen atmosphere of an approximate 100 foot hydrocracker reactor unit. He fell about 20 feet after getting tangled in equipment and later died at a hospital. (More information: OSHA Report)

Jan. 19, 2001 – Citgo Petroleum, Corpus Christi, TX

One death: John C. Wood, 23. Incident summary: Wood, of Marthasville, Mo., was welding in a confined space at a refinery and was asphyxiated by argon. (More information: OSHA Report)

Nov. 29, 2000 – Valero Energy Corp., Corpus Christi, TX

One death: Luis Govea, 45. Incident summary: Govea and another Berry Contracting worker were finishing the turnaround of the sulfur recovery complex at a refinery. They were exposed to strong hydrogen sulfide emissions while working on a scaffold. Govea staggered away, but later passed out and died. His colleague escaped and later recovered at a hospital. OSHA found the valve inspection program, lockout/tagout program and respiratory protections lacking. (More information: OSHA Report)

May 28, 2000 – BP Amoco, Whiting, IN

One death: Cedric Norwood, 46. Incident summary: Norwood suffered an injury to his lower abdomen while on the job at the refinery and later died at an East Chicago hospital, according to an Associated Press article. He worked 25 years at the plant, was married and had three children and five grandchildren, the AP reported. (More information: OSHA Report)

March 19, 2000 – Exxon, Baytown, TX

One death. Incident summary: An Exxon employee was found slumped in his chair and was placed on the floor by first aid responders and they started checking for vital signs. The employee started his shift on this particular week at 6:30 p.m. and finished at 6:30 a.m. The employee was finishing his fourth day of a midnight turn and went into distress at 6:30 p.m. The employee suffered an apparent heart attack. (More information: OSHA Report)

Nov. 8, 1999 – Desoto Oil and Gas, Brewton, AL

One death: James Hollington, 36. Incident summary: Hollingen was found lying on a catwalk between two oil well storage tanks. It appeared that he died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide. (More information: OSHA Report)

Oct. 15, 1999 – Conoco, Westlake, LA

One death. Incident summary: A flash fire severely burned an employee, who later died. (More information: OSHA Report)

Aug. 9, 1999 – Citgo Petroleum, Corpus Christi, TX

One death: Lonnie V. Wright, 54. Incident summary: Wright and another worker were trying to restart one of several steam-fired utility boilers at the refinery. They had tried several times to light-off the main burner when the boiler chamber exploded, killing Wright instantly and injuring the other. The employees had little experience with the equipment. (More information: OSHA Report and Article from Associated Press )

Feb. 23, 1999 – Tosco, Martinez, CA

Four deaths: Rollin Blue, Tom Rodacker, Ricardo Enriquez and Ernie Pofahl. Incident summary: Workers attempted to remove and replace a leaky petroleum pipe which was attached to an operating oil distillation tower. Over a 13-day period before the accident, workers had repeatedly tried to isolate and drain the pipe, but leaking and corroded shut-off valves hampered their efforts. At the time of the incident, the pipe still contained a significant volume of pressurized naphtha, a highly flammable petroleum mixture similar to gasoline. While workers were in the process of replacing the pipe, the naphtha was released and burst into flames, killing the four workers. (More information: OSHA Report and Article from San Francisco Chronicle)

Jan. 13, 1999 – Cross Oil, Smackover, AR

Three deaths: Dale Hamilton, 54; Scott Shoffnor, 28; and Clay Yarbrough, 57. Incident summary: The three contract employees were working on a naphtha tank valve at the refinery when it exploded, killing all three. (More information: Article from Associated Press )

Nov. 25, 1998 – Equilon Enterprises, Anacortes, WA

Six deaths: David Murdzia, 30; Warren Fry, 50; Theodore Cade, 23; James Berlin, 38; Ronald J. Granfors, 49; and Wayne E. Dowe, 44. Incident summary: An explosion and fire erupted at the refinery's coking plant. Six workers died while attempting to restart the delayed coking unit following a power outage. (More information: OSHA Report and Article from Seattle Post-Intelligencer )

Oct. 16, 1998 – Motiva Enterprises, Port Arthur, TX

One death. Incident summary: A Motiva employee was spotting and connecting rail cars and was run over by a train. (More information: OSHA Report and News Article )

Oct. 13, 1998 – Phillips Petroleum, Old Ocean, TX

One death. Incident summary: A ConocoPhillips employee was overexposed to sulfuric acid and died from acid burns and inhalation of fumes. (More information: OSHA Report)

Aug. 20, 1998 – Arco, Carson, CA

One death: Enrique Campos, 52. Incident summary: Campos was installing a device on the top of a lime slurry tank with a torch gun when it exploded. Another man was injured. (More information: Article from LA Times )

Feb. 11, 1998 – Valero Energy Corp., Texas City, TX

One death. Incident summary: A Valero employee was on top of a sour water tank blocking in steam eductor valves when he was exposed to hydrogen sulfide. He was not wearing a respirator. He died more than a week later. (More information: OSHA Report)

Feb. 8, 1998 – Motiva Enterprises, Convent, LA

One death. Incident summary: A Motiva employee preparing to launch a pipeline scraper was found unconscious on the ground and died of asphyxia after being exposed to hydrogen sulfide. He was not using any form of respiratory protection. (More information: OSHA Report)

Jan. 22, 1997 – Tosco Avon, Martinez, CA

One death: Michael Glanzman, 41. Incident summary: Glanzman, a Tosco employee, was killed during an explosion and fire in a hydrocracking process unit. (More information: OSHA Report and article from San Francisco Chronicle)

July 12, 1996 – Phillips Petroleum, Borger, TX

One death. Incident summary. An employee was standing by a reactor when it blew apart, with the top separating from the shell, OSHA said. He died of burns.

April 1, 1996 – Diamond Shamrock Refining, Sunray, TX

One death: Charles Otis Hall. Incident summary: A compressor cylinder pulled in liquid during start-up, causing the cylinder internal bypass cover plate to crack. Leaking hydrocarbon liquid ignited, triggering a fire and explosion. Three employees –Thornburg, Charles Hall, and Kevin Smith – were severely injured. Hall received third-degree burns over fifty percent of his body. He died about a week later. (More information: OSHA Report)

Feb. 8, 1996 – Texaco Refining, Anacortes, WA

One death: Tracy Giles. Incident summary: Giles was struck by a 700-pound shell cover that blew off a heat exchanger. (More information: Article from Associated Press )

Jan. 19, 1996 – BP, Belle Chasse, LA

One death. Incident summary: A Scaltech Inc contractor working on fuel recycling was having trouble with rocks piling up in equipment and lines. Wearing an organic vapor chemical cartridge respirator, he entered the tank, which had contained sludge and hydrocarbons, to take the larger rocks out by hand. He was overcome after approximately 10 minutes and died of asphyxia. (More information: OSHA Report)

Dec. 22, 1995 – Coastal Refining and Marketing, Corpus Christi, TX

One death. Incident summary: A refinery worker was fatally burned in a fire that broke out when hot oil leaked from a coking unit. (More information: OSHA Report)

Dec. 12, 1995 – Pennzoil Products Co., Romeoville, IL

One death: Larry Kwasniewski, 43. Incident summary: Kwasniewski, a pipefitter, was performing routine maintenance on a heater unit when a fire broke out, killing him. (More information: OSHA Report and Article from Chicago Tribune )

Oct. 16, 1995 – Pennzoil Products Co., Rouseville, PA

Five deaths: Ray Kelosky, Russell Beers, John Lee Pritchard, Clifford Walton and Francis Gibbons. Incident summary: An explosion at the refinery killed three workers instantly. Two died later from injuries. Regulators determined that many factors caused the incident, including outmoded equipment and poor training. (More information: Article from EPA Investigation )

Sept. 7, 1995 – Unocal, Nipomo, CA

One death. Incident summary: Workers were cleaning a tank when sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gases inside exploded. (More information: Article from LA Times )

Disclosure: BP and Valero are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Previous articles:

Blood Lessons Ten years after a fiery explosion killed 15 in Texas City, preventable deaths continue at refineries.

Anatomy of Disaster Studies pinpointed what went wrong in Texas City, but unsafe conditions persist.

Survivors Remember For two former BP workers, disaster and its aftermath remain vivid.

About: The Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle spent two months examining whether the nation’s oil refineries learned the lessons of the deadly explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery in 2005 – one of the most studied industrial accidents in U.S. history. Stories by Jim Malewitz, Lise Olsen and Mark Collette – with research and assistance from several colleagues – show that the industry's death toll has barely slowed.

Contributors

The Texas Tribune

Jim Malewitz

Reporter | @Jmalewitz

Jolie McCullough

News Apps Developer | @jsmccullou

Eva Hershaw

Reporter | @beets4eva

Jacob Villanueva

Creative Director | @jacobvillanueva

Ben Hasson

Web Designer | @been_hussln

Emily Albracht

Graphic Designer | @EmilyAlbracht

Todd Wiseman

Multimedia Producer | @Wisemeister

 

Houston Chronicle

Mark Collette

Reporter | @chronMC

Lise Olsen

Reporter | @chrondigger

Mayra Beltran

Photojournalist | @mayra_beltran

Joyce Lee

News Researcher

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