Pasadena Plant Explosion Injures 21, Lawsuit Already Filed against Plant OwnerMay 21, 2018
On Saturday May 19th at around 10:43 a.m., an explosion and flash fire at the Kuraray America EVAL™ Plant near Houston injured at least 21 workers.1 According to the latest reports, the explosion and fire occurred in an insulation tower where welding and pipefitting work was being done. The explosion was reportedly triggered by a safety valve malfunction that caused over-pressurization of the facility’s piping.
Two workers suffered severe burn injuries, requiring helicopter transport to nearby hospitals. The other injured workers, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries ranging from back and knee injuries to burns, were transported by ground to local hospitals.
Authorities have indicated that all of 250 workers and contractors who were on site at the time of the explosion have been accounted for and that the plant will remain closed for several days as the investigation continues. They have also reported that this explosion did not present any threat to those in surrounding areas.
Pasadena Plant Owned by Kuraray America, Inc.
The Pasadena-based Kuraray EVAL™ Plant is owned by Kuraray America, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of the Japan-based Kuraray, a chemical manufacturer and plastic fabrications company. Kuraray America makes fiber, dental, rubber and resin products.
The Pasadena Kuraray EVAL™ Plant is reportedly the largest producer of ethylene vinyl alcohol in the world. It has no history of violations with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Chemical Safety Board (CSB).
In a statement issued shortly after the explosion, Kuraray America stated:
Officials with Kuraray America, Inc. confirm that a fire occurred at the company’s EVAL™ facility in Pasadena, Texas, at the corner of Choate Road and Bay Area Boulevard at approximately 10:43 a.m. central today. The fire has been extinguished and there is no threat to the surrounding area…The company is fully cooperating with all local authorities and emergency response teams and will provide additional information as it becomes available and is confirmed.
Kuraray America Already Facing Legal Action over the Pasadena Plant Explosion
One worker injured in Saturday’s Pasadena plant explosion has reportedly already filed a lawsuit against Kuraray America. This case, filed in Harris County, alleges that Kuraray America’s negligence directly contributed to the explosion and resulting injuries. Specifically, the case alleges that Kuraray America:
- Failed to establish and enact the necessary safety protocols to prevent the disastrous explosion
- Disregarded the risks associated with using inappropriate or faulty piping and/or valves for the given job.
The claim is seeking $1 million in compensation for the worker’s medical expenses, lost income and other losses.
As more details about the causes and circumstances surrounding this Pasadena plant explosion become available, it’s expected that more injured workers will likely come forward to take legal action against Kuraray America.
1: Initial reports incorrectly indicated that at least 22 were injured in the explosion. Subsequent reports from authorities have corrected this to 21 injured.