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Exposure to acid could lead to workers being injured on the job

Authorities are concerned about the ability of ExxonMobil to operate its aging Torrance refinery safely. An explosion at the plant in February was determined to have been caused by the company's failure to act on its knowledge of defective equipment that posed an explosion threat. The California division of the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration said the company left the known hazard unrepaired for almost ten years, exposing many workers to the potential of being injured on the job.

Cal/OSHA is currently investigating a recent incident of toxic exposure at the same refinery. A leak of modified hydrofluoric acid was discovered on a recent Sunday morning. The spill occurred during the unloading of the acid from a truck into a container at the refinery.

Although the amount of leakage seemed insignificant at a rate of 10 drops per hour, authorities said it continued dripping for about 15 hours before the repairs were completed. The fire department reportedly regards this as a significant incident, and although the matter was resolved in a relatively short time, the situation posed potential risks that might have resulted in life-threatening injuries. Authorities may rightfully be concerned about the hazards posed to workers at the refinery.

California workers who are continuously exposed to safety hazards that are disregarded by their employers may be concerned about being injured on the job. When explosions occur, lives are often lost, and survivors may be left with life-changing injuries. The workers' compensation system would offer benefits that cover medical expenses, lost income and possible additional benefits if a temporary or permanent disability was suffered. Families of workers who lost their lives may pursue death benefits that typically cover the costs of end-of-life arrangements along with a financial package to cover a percentage of lost income.

Source:, "Acid leak at Torrance ExxonMobil refinery being probed", Debbie L. Sklar, Sept. 11, 2015

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