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What is it like to work in the petrochemical industry?

South Louisiana and Southeast Texas are major players in our country's petrochemical industry. In fact, it's likely that you may work there yourself or have close family members and friends who do.

But what is life really like for those who work in this booming energy industry? While these jobs are typically better paying than many, they are not always the easiest to hold.

The hours may be long

Petrochemical plant workers sometimes work split shifts, which can interfere with familial responsibilities. They may have to work on holidays, nights and weekends in addition to some daytime shifts. They can receive overtime pay for their shifts that exceed 40 hours.

Both indoor and outdoor work may be necessary

Dependent upon their job descriptions and skills, they might have to work in conditions of both extreme heat and cold. Under the broiling summer sun, they must wear special Nomex coveralls to protect them, as well as hardhats and steel-toed boots. In some areas of the plants, they may also have to wear special respirators to be able to breathe clean air.

They can face severe dangers if something goes wrong

Problems that arise in typical office settings are usually far less serious than when something goes wrong in a petrochemical plant. There is a high risk of explosions, fires and chemical exposures in these plants — all of which can prove deadly to the workforce.

Many tasks in petrochemical plants must be performed at great height, raising the risk of falls and other injuries if a safety breach occurs. These workers are often dependent on their co-workers for maintaining a safe and secure environment, e.g., use of lock-out devices, tie-offs and other safety protocols. If there are lapses, the chance of problems occurring can be quite high.

Did you suffer an injury at a petrochemical plant?

It is important that those who suffer injuries in petrochemical plant accidents know and understand that they have both rights and responsibilities if they decide to pursue compensation for their losses, injuries and other damages. When a family member is killed on the job in such an accident, their survivors also have rights to seek compensation.

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