Failure to comply with occupational health and safety standards can be costly.

Companies that expose workers to chemicals need to have stringent safety procedures in place – or they may have to suffer the consequences such as formal health and safety complaints and occupational lawsuits.

In a recent example, a Galveston County man alleges he was exposed to a chemical leak while working as a security guard at a Texas City petrochemical plant almost two years ago, court documents say.

Acute exposure to naphthalene

In a lawsuit filed against Valero Refining-Texas LP, Marathon Petroleum Co. L.P. and Texas-New Mexico Power Co. on April 11, 2011, in Galveston County District Court, Karon Johnson claims he had an acute exposure to naphthalene on June 16, 2009.

Johnson patrolled the Marathon refinery at the time of the alleged leak. He says the chemicals wafted from the nearby Valero facility, according to the lawsuit.

The next day, the plaintiff reported to his employer that he was feeling limp, nauseous, fatigued, and achy and that he saw blood in his urine, the suit says.

Exposure to chemicals affected worker

According to the original complaint, Johnson claims he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy — a weakening and enlargement of the heart — and chemical pneumonitis — a lung inflammation caused by inhaling irritants — citing the Valero release as “the legal cause of his injuries.”

The suit faults Valero for failing to operate its refinery in a safe manner in compliance with the law, while Marathon is blamed for not preventing workplace hazards and TNMP is accused of not running their company safely.

“The defendants ignored the known obvious risks of harm, damages and losses that would result from an extended exposure to naphthalene-containing chemicals,” the original petition says.

Consequently, Johnson sues for compensatory and exemplary damages. He also seeks a jury trial.

R.G. Taylor II & Associates is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Source: South East Texas Record

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Please note: The information contained herein is not meant to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure a disease or condition. It may be necessary to consult a physician.

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